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FCC, NTIA Agree to Improve Coordination on Spectrum Management in New Initiative

By Jeffrey Hill | February 15, 2022
Federal Communications Commission. Photo: FCC

Federal Communications Commission. Photo: FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) rolled out a new Spectrum Coordination Initiative on Tuesday to improve U.S. government coordination on spectrum management and policy issues.

The FCC and NTIA have jointly managed the nation’s radio spectrum resources for years. The Spectrum Coordination Initiative involves five high-level changes to the management process.

First, the chair of the FCC and the assistant secretary of the NTIA will hold formal, monthly meetings to conduct joint spectrum planning. Both agencies will also update their nearly 20-year-old memorandum of understanding to, “address gaps in government coordination and to better reflect today’s spectrum opportunities and challenges,” according to the initiative announcement.

The FCC and NTIA also said they would collaborate to help inform the development of a national spectrum strategy, increase transparency around spectrum use and needs, and establish long-term spectrum planning and coordination. Both agencies also agreed to work cooperatively to develop processes for spectrum engineering compatibility analysis. These will include a compilation of principles, guidelines, accepted technical standards, interference protection criteria, propagation models, and other characteristics.

Finally, the FCC and NTIA said the initiative aims to foster proactive technical exchange and engagement with industry and other federal agencies by participating in cross-agency advisory groups. The FCC will participate as an observer in the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee, and NTIA will participate as an observer in the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council.

“Now more than ever we need a whole-of-government approach to spectrum policy,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Over the past few years we’ve seen the cost of not having one — and we need a non-stop effort to fix that. I appreciate [NTIA] Assistant Secretary Davidson’s leadership and his willingness to work with me to revitalize the interagency coordination process so that it once again is able to produce results for consumers and the economy.”