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"Fast Track" Spectrum Reallocation Proposed - NTIA

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K0KP, Nov 16, 2010.

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  1. K0KP

    K0KP Ham Member QRZ Page

    NTIA proposes to "Fast Track" the reallocation of 115 MHz of radio spectrum for wireless broadband now, increasing to a total of 500 MHz within ten years.

    The National Telecommunications and Information Administration - NTIA, is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that serves as the executive branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policies. NTIA also serves to manage radio spectrum used by the military and other government users much as the FCC manages spectrum for public users.


    “America's future competitiveness and global technology leadership depend, in part, upon the
    availability of additional spectrum. The world is going wireless, and we must not fall behind….

    Expanded wireless broadband access will trigger the creation of innovative new businesses,
    provide cost-effective connections in rural areas, increase productivity, improve public safety,
    and allow for the development of mobile telemedicine, telework, distance learning, and other
    new applications that will transform Americans' lives….
    This new era in global technology leadership will only happen if there is adequate spectrum

    available to support the forthcoming myriad of wireless devices, networks, and applications that
    can drive the new economy. To do so, we can use our American ingenuity to wring abundance
    from scarcity, by finding ways to use spectrum more efficiently. We can also unlock the value of
    otherwise underutilized spectrum and open new avenues for spectrum users to derive value
    through the development of advanced, situation-aware spectrum-sharing technologies.”
    - President Obama, June 28, 2010

    Summary of the two DOC/NTIA reports

    1) A Ten-Year Plan and Timetable to make 500 megahertz of Federal and non-Federal
    spectrum available for wireless broadband use.

    The Department of Commerce’s (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information
    Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
    and other Federal agencies, prepared a Plan and Timetable that: 1) identifies an initial list of
    candidate spectrum bands; 2) outlines steps to determine additional candidate bands; 3) sets a
    process to assess and evaluate their feasibility; and 4) identifies actions necessary to make that
    spectrum available for wireless broadband use within a decade. The Plan and Timetable identify
    over 2,200 megahertz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum that will be evaluated for potential
    opportunities for wireless broadband use. (See attached table.)
    NTIA prepared the report pursuant to the June 28, 2010 Presidential Memorandum that directed
    the Secretary of Commerce, through NTIA, to collaborate with the FCC to produce a ten-year
    plan and timetable for making available 500 megahertz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum
    suitable for wireless broadband use, while taking into account the need to ensure there is no loss
    of existing critical government capabilities and the need for appropriate enforcement
    mechanisms and authorities.

    2) Fast Track Evaluation of the 1675-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 3500-3650 MHz, and
    4200-4220 MHz and 4380-4400 MHz bands.

    NTIA, at the request of the Office of Management and Budget, the National Economic Council,
    and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and in collaboration with the FCC and other
    Federal agencies, performed a “fast track” review of some of these bands to determine whether
    any spectrum could be made available for wireless broadband within five years. NTIA identified
    and evaluated four bands for this review: 1) 1675-1710 MHz; 2) 1755-1780 MHz; 3) 3500-3650
    MHz; and 4) 4200-4220 MHz and 4380-4400 MHz. NTIA recommends that 115 megahertz
    (1695-1710 MHz and 3550-3650 MHz) be made available for wireless broadband in the next
    five years, contingent upon timely allocation of funds. This is an important down payment on the
    Administration’s commitment to address the growing demand for wireless broadband services.
    The evaluation of the 1755-1780 MHz band could not be completed by an October 2010
    deadline for identifying the initial tranche of spectrum. This band will continue to be a priority
    for analysis in the Plan and Timetable.

    Ten-year Plan and Timetable for 500 megahertz

    NTIA has identified 2,200 megahertz of spectrum to evaluate for wireless broadband
    opportunities, including the four fast-track bands, as candidate bands for review. The report
    provides a roadmap for identifying wireless spectrum assigned to both Federal and non-Federal
    users that can be allocated for wireless broadband, as well as for using all spectrum more

    Review Mechanisms:

    • NTIA will work in collaboration with the FCC to consider Federal, shared, and non-
    Federal bands for potential commercial broadband use.
    • NTIA will prioritize the candidate bands for analysis based on a variety of factors
    including how the band is currently being used, industry interest, relocation cost for
    Federal users, and the likelihood that the band can be repurposed within ten years.

    The highest priority bands will be evaluated first.

    • NTIA will convene the Policy and Plans Steering Group (PPSG) to perform the
    evaluations of the candidate bands.
    • In order to reach the 500 megahertz goal as rapidly as possible, bands will be
    reviewed on a rolling basis. The recommendations will be released as the review of
    each band is completed.
    • The U.S. Chief Technology Officer, working in cooperation with NTIA and the
    PPSG, will undertake reviews of agencies’ spectrum usage to ensure that the Federal
    Government utilizes spectrum most effectively.
    • NTIA will also solicit contributions from the Commerce Spectrum Management
    Advisory Committee on how best to execute the mandate of the President’s
    Spectrum Initiative. NTIA will also explore whether other mechanisms for public
    input and technology development can inform and improve our Federal system of
    spectrum management.

    Providing incentives and assistance to agencies:

    • DOC/NTIA state in the Plan and Timetable that the Administration intends to
    propose improvements to the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act, particularly
    focusing on the need to provide agencies with the funding to plan for relocation and
    the need to provide agencies with greater flexibility in applying resources from the
    Spectrum Relocation Fund.
    • The Administration will need to allocate funds to support planning efforts. The
    funding could be used to test the feasibility of alternative spectrum, evaluate the use
    of different technologies, and undertake any other necessary planning efforts,
    thereby creating more certainty as to what new spectrum will be (and when it could
    be) made available.
    • DOC/NTIA note in the Plan the Administration’s support for legislation to authorize
    voluntary incentive auctions as an approach that provides incentives and assistance
    for repurposing commercial spectrum.

    The Fast Track Evaluation

    NTIA conducted an accelerated analysis of four bands to determine whether any portion of the
    bands can be made available within five years for wireless broadband.
    1) 1675-1710 MHz – This band is currently used for radio transmitters on weather balloons
    and similar systems, and downlinks from weather satellites. Many agencies, public safety
    organizations, and radio and television stations receive and use this information.
    Recommendation: DOC/NTIA recommend that a portion of the band, 1695-1710 MHz, be
    made available, while protecting critical government sites via exclusion zones. The
    exclusion zones will help minimize, but not eliminate, the impact to meteorological
    services from making spectrum available for commercial use.
    2) 3500-3650 MHz – The Department of Defense (DOD) currently uses this band for a
    variety of tactical high-power radars. Many of these radars operate on ships. Other
    systems in this band operate in DOD training areas and test ranges.
    Recommendation: DOC/NTIA recommend that a portion of the 3550-3650 MHz band be
    made available for wireless broadband, by licensing it for broadband use outside certain
    coastal areas and test and training areas. These geographic limitations will ensure the
    commercial use is protected from interference from DOD operations. This approach will
    make available spectrum covering a significant area of the country while permitting DOD
    to continue to meet mission and training requirements.
    3) 4200-4220 MHz and 4380-4400 MHz – These band segments are part of the 4200-4400
    MHz band that is used worldwide for radio altimeters on aircrafts.
    Recommendation: DOC/NTIA recommend NTIA further review these band segments to
    explore to what extent radio altimeters operate in these particular band segments. NTIA
    recognizes that, due to the need for international regulatory action by the International
    Telecommunication Union and the International Civil Aviation Organization, these 40
    megahertz of spectrum cannot be made available for broadband use in the United States
    before 2016. However, the U.S. Government will initiate the necessary action now to
    obtain international approvals for reallocating this spectrum by 2016.
    4) 1755-1780 MHz – This band is currently used by DOD, Federal law enforcement
    agencies, and other agencies for a variety of satellite, surveillance, aeronautical
    operations, fixed microwave and other operations.
    Recommendation: Given the number of Federal users in the band, the diversity of Federal
    uses, and the need to find replacement spectrum for operations that would have to be
    relocated from the band if it were to be made available for wireless broadband, DOC/NTIA
    could not complete a rigorous review of this band by October 2010. This band will
    continue to be a priority for analysis under the Plan and Timetable.

    Next Steps

    • Funding for Planning and Redesign – Making the 1695-1710 MHz and 3550-3650 MHz
    band available for wireless broadband will require timely allocation of funding for affected
    Federal operations to engage in planning, and in some cases to make changes to their
    operations and redesign their equipment. For example, the National Oceanic and
    Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would need to redesign the next generation of
    geostationary meteorological satellites to move all communications below 1695 MHz or
    develop an alternate communications method which recognizes current reliability and
    availability requirements. Also, NOAA will need to redesign radio transmitters used on
    weather balloons and similar systems to use spectrum more efficiently to make room for
    satellite downlinks.
    • Reallocation Rulemakings – The FCC must conduct rulemakings in order to implement
    NTIA’s recommendations.


    • As historical context, NTIA reallocated approximately 225 megahertz for non-Federal use
    in February 1995. NTIA started that effort in August of 1992 at the direction of Congress.
    The FCC auctioned a portion of that spectrum, the 1710-1755 MHz band, in 2006, and the
    spectrum is still in transition as agencies relocate their operations. Making available 500
    megahertz represents an even greater challenge as spectrum use by both Federal and non-
    Federal users has increased.
    • NTIA serves as the executive branch agency principally responsible for advising the
    President on telecommunications and information policies. NTIA also manages the
    Federal use of spectrum and formulates and establishes plans and policies that ensure the
    effective, efficient, and equitable use of the spectrum both nationally and internationally.

    Initial Band Candidates that NTIA and the National Broadband Plan

    Frequency Band
    Current Allocation/Usage
    (Federal, Non‐Federal, Shared)
    (Broadcast TV)**
    VHF/UHF Frequencies
    120 Non‐Federal
    406.1‐420 13.9 Federal
    10 Non‐Federal
    1300‐1390 90 Federal
    40 Non‐Federal
    10 Non‐Federal
    1675‐1710∗ 35 Federal/non‐Federal Shared
    1755‐1780∗ 25 Federal
    1780‐1850 70 Federal
    (AWS 2/3)**
    10 Non‐Federal
    40 Non‐Federal
    (AWS 2/3)**
    5 Non‐Federal
    (AWS 2/3)**
    25 Non‐Federal
    2200‐2290∗∗∗ 90 Federal
    30 Non‐Federal
    2700‐2900 200 Federal
    2900‐3100 200 Federal/non‐Federal Shared
    3100‐3500 400 Federal/non‐Federal Shared
    3500‐3650∗ 150 Federal
    3700‐4200 500 Non‐Federal
    4200‐4400 200 Federal/non‐Federal Shared
    [4200‐4220 & 4380‐4400]∗ Federal/non‐Federal Shared
    Total 2263.9
    ∗ Bands selected for Fast‐Track evaluation
    ∗∗ Identified in the National Broadband Plan, Recommendation 5.8, page 86 (using nomenclature
    contained in Exhibit 5‐E)
    ∗∗∗ NTIA notes the ITU‐R SA.1154 Recommendation
  2. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I see they want part of the 160 and 80 meter bands.
  3. W6UDO

    W6UDO Ham Member QRZ Page


    These are all in Megahertz so the figures you were referring to would convert to gigahertz, not the 160 and 80 meter ham bands...
    Very 73...Joe
  4. W1RFI

    W1RFI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only Amateur spectrum on the list is a part of the 2.3 GHz band where Amateur is already secondary to the identified WCS, so this is, at least so far, a positive thing for Amateur Radio. The doom-and-gloomers have no cause to celebrate this day.

    Ed, W1RFI
  5. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ah! Very good. Thanks. :)
  6. WX1DX

    WX1DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looks strait forward

    the plan as I read it looks good but beware of the beast it would be nice if the FCC would look at how many radio licenses are not being used properly or at all.
    I watch the new licences's for instance each week issued for Arkansas I'm amazed at the wast to point out a few there is no reason for Orilys or Napa to get a radio frequency of there own when the cellular service could and should be used instead. there are many many more examples of this. Updating the entire country's fiber optic system especially in rural areas first something that is 20 years behind schedule. this does bring up the point that everyone needs to write there congress men about the feds keeping there fingers off the amateur spectrum including the parts where we are secondary users and use as much of our bands as we can because if they lay dormant or rarely used we will loose them.
  7. KA5LQJ

    KA5LQJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My "Question" is.......

    What are the plans for use of the newly abandoned VHF TV channels? Surely, not for cell 'phones. I'm just curious as to whom is going to get these frequencies?

    Nowadays, you have to be practically up under the UHF digital channels antenna to get good over-the-air reception. Any farther out and you have to have cable or satellite. It would be much simpler to run underground, fiber optic in an armored cable or metal pipe to protect it to everyone's home, including the rural folks. TV, 'phone, and data service all from one tiny thread, digitized, and ham radios don't affect it. ;)

    Maybe in order for me to get good over-the-air TV reception, I'll need to build a multi-element bed-spring collinear TV antenna, like the OLD DAYS and try it out. If it didn't pick up TV too well, I could always use it for 70cm ssb, LOL!

    Just an idea.



    Joyeaüx Noël et Bonn Année du Luzianne!
    (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Louisiana!) ;)
  8. KB9MWR

    KB9MWR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unless I am reading it wrong our 9 Centimeter allocation is also on the list.

    3300 - 3400 MHz Secondary to Radiolocation
    3400 - 3500 MHz Co-secondary with Mobile Radiolocation, Fixed Satellite (Space to Earth) is primary
  9. K4YZ

    K4YZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Ed...Good to see you on this side of the sod!

    From your position in Newington, do you have any idea how many Amateurs may actually using any of the allocations above 23cm on a regular basis? And I mean other than the occasional hilltoppers.


    Steve, K4YZ
  10. KC8YHW

    KC8YHW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don, I have put up an old RV antenna on Plastic Conduit, with an el-cheapo Radio Shack Pre-Amp. Height of antenna about 20 feet above grade (ASL 850'). I also happen to live at the County high point. I am getting stations from a 90 mile radius. The OTA is really nice as one station uses its third freq. for twenty four hour weather. That helps during foul weather as the Sat loses the bird (RAIN FADE). A quick grab of the remote, find the correct station, then go turn on the weather radio, at that point, I decide if it is time to go play Sky Warn, or get the XYL and my self under ground.
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