wireless spectrum (Creations/Shutterstock.com)

NTIA details progress on spectrum repurposing

The federal government is making progress identifying spectrum to repurpose for 5G wireless usage, according to a detailed report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released Sept. 3.

The plan to repurpose portions of the radiofrequency spectrum stems from President Donald Trump's October 2018 Presidential Memorandum establishing a national policy to more efficiently use the spectrum to help meet "economic, national security, science, safety, and other federal mission goals now and in the future."

Current activities include regulatory proceedings and feasibility studies that address the reallocation of spectrum in low, mid and high ranges to enable wireless technologies required for future wireless broadband services, including 5G.  An extensive table details the status of repurposing efforts by band.

The report also includes an update on an ambitious plan to combine radar and long-range detection needs for multiple agencies into a new group of solutions dubbed SENSR -- Spectrum Efficient National Surveillance Radar. The plan, unveiled in the last days of the Obama administration, was designed to consolidate and upgrade legacy radar systems operated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Defense Department, Customs and Border Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with an eye to freeing up 30 to 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 1300-1350 MHz band.

According to the report, NOAA withdrew its weather systems from the SENSR plan but continues to participate in planning. Studies are continuing and the report indicates they are expected to be finished in time to make a decision on repurposing the band by January 2022 with an eye to a possible spectrum auction in July 2024 under the terms of the Spectrum Pipeline Act.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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