Thursday, January 31, 2008

FCC's Strategic I.T. Plan - FY 2008-2012 - Ver 1.0

The Federal Communications Commission's 2008-2012 IT Strategic Plan (ITSP) sets forth the current and future foundation and guidelines that direct Commission-wide IT (information technology) activities for building an information systems architecture that is increasingly interoperable and migrates toward a single vision of IT at the FCC.

The ITSP is a five-year look at managing IT at the FCC. To prevent obsolescence of the information contained within the ITSP, periodic verification and validation activities will occur.

An annual validation of the information contained in the ITSP will be performed and updates will be made accordingly
. A shift in Commission goals will trigger a review and update to the ITSP to reflect evolving FCC IT objectives

This ITSP is used in conjunction with the
FCC's IT Tactical Management Plan which is an evolutionary document that maps out and schedules all IT initiatives and guides IT projects and activities. The Office of the Managing Director maintains and performs frequent updates to the IT Tactical Management Plan.

Examples of activities in the ITTMP include:

• Hardware Life Cycle Replacement Projects/Initiatives
• Application Software Projects/Initiatives
• Telecommunications (Data/Voice) Life Cycle Projects/Initiatives
• Infrastructure Consolidation Projects/Initiatives
• Federal Compliance Reporting Activities

You'll note that this plan is dated October, 2007 -- but is also labeled Version 1.0 -- something I'd think many would find rather interesting, considering that information technology (and the use and distribution of it) in the private sector is much further advanced.

Hmmm.....could this be part of why the Commission is struggling in so many ways when it comes to the allocation, management, and regulation of the radio spectrum?


Wireless Spectrum Links & Resources

Those concerned or interested in learning more about U.S. spectrum regulation and frequency allocation policies and their impact on radio and wireless communication devices may want to begin paying very close attention to the Notices, actions and decisions made by the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB), the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHS), and, their Office of Engineering and Technology (OET). More background information on spectrum policy, including the latest on the 700 MHz proceeding, can be found on the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force site. And, there's always the FCC's Daily Digest which provides a brief synopsis of Commission orders, news releases, speeches, public notices and all other FCC documents (with links to the full text of each) that are released each business day.

Finally, this 2006 paper Regulating Spectrum Management: Overview and Trends is intended to provide readers with a broad overview of wireless communications spectrum management concepts and issues, including a review of differences between traditional spectrum management methods and policy and recent innovations and practices due to technology advances. The approach taken is more descriptive than prescriptive, allowing readers to make up their own mind on various perspectives. It's interesting to note that the authors have found that there are no standard solutions that fit every situation.

Additional reading:

Spectrum Management Overview

Spectrum Policy and Planning

An introduction to spectrum management including best practices and considerations involved in the use and regulation of radio frequency spectrum. An outline of policy and planning considerations including technical standards and the allocation of spectrum.


An overview of the processes by which users gain access to the spectrum resource.

Spectrum Pricing

A review of the role of spectrum pricing and economics as it relates to the method of spectrum authorization being employed.

Spectrum Monitoring and Compliance

An overview of how spectrum monitoring and compliance can help users by avoiding incompatible frequency usage through identification of sources of harmful interference.

International Affairs

An overview of international harmonization of spectrum utilization.

Developing Spectrum Management Capacity

An overview of the strategies for organization, function, process development, staffing, staff retention and training for spectrum regulators.

Oh yes.....I almost forgot; here's how you can "express yourself" should some of the Commission's activities or policies stir you to speak up about spectrum matters.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

TV "White Space" Spectrum Debate Simmers

For those following the TV spectrum "white spaces" debate currently simmering on the FCC's back burner, here is a policy backgrounder worth a read from Sascha Meinrath and the New America Foundation:

According to Meinrath, "smart" wireless devices can use the unassigned frequencies between broadcast TV channels to offer wireless broadband and other innovative services. A rulemaking is pending at the FCC (Docket 04-186 - with over 11,000 comments from the public and industry to date) as to whether to permit unlicensed access to this currently wasted spectrum, subject to technical requirements that will protect television reception from interference. Access to the vacant TV channels in each market has been the subject of intense lobbying, yet far too many of the arguments against "white space" devices rely upon misinformation about the technologies and the FCC process that will prevent harmful interference to DTV reception and other incumbent services.

This policy backgrounder offers a summary analysis, and is an effort to help policymakers strike the appropriate balance between protecting existing services from interference while making the benefits of mobile broadband services available and affordable for all consumers. It provides policymakers with:

  1. a brief historical background to the current FCC proceedings;
  2. a description of White Space Device (WSD) technologies;
  3. a “Myths vs. Facts” section addressing the key concerns raised about WSDs;
  4. an overview of the public benefits of WSDs; and
  5. a concise summary of where we are in the multi-phase process of adopting WSD technologies for consumer use.

The complete document should be reviewed by anyone interested in or concerned about the development of "white space devices" (WSD's), FCC regulation, and technology -- because spectrum matters.