NCTA: Government Spectrum Strategy Should be Balanced

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association said the Trump Administration's National Spectrum Strategy should recognize that WiFi is the primary delivery mechanism for broadband and promote additional unlicensed spectrum and critical to any spectrum strategy. It also says the framework should acknowledge that a "balanced" approach recognizes both fixed and mobile technologies and that incumbent users of C-band spectrum--notably cable operators--are important to hundreds of millions of Americans.

That came in NCTA's comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the President's chief communications policy adviser, on the Trump White House's directive to create that National Spectrum Strategy in consultation with stakeholders.

The President announced Oct. 25 that he wanted that spectrum strategy and NTIA last month sent a letter to federal agencies seeking their reports on spectrum needs over the next 15 years.

NCTA has a three-point plan for insuring the strategy accounts for the above "realities": "(1) put unused spectrum to work; (2) increase efficiency and intensity of use of underutilized spectrum; and (3) create careful solutions to enable additional uses, while protecting consumers’ use of existing services in bands where there are intensive incumbent operations."

Number three is a reference to the FCC's current proposal to free up C-band (3.7 to 4.2 GHz Band) satellite spectrum for licensed terrestrial wireless as it races toward 5G.

The C-band is currently used for satellite delivery of cable and broadcast network programming to cable head-ends, TVs and radio stations.

Related: C-Band Alliance Pushed Marketplace Solution to Repurposing Spectrum

NCTA gives a shout out to presidential memorandum that called for a "balanced" spectrum policy and said part of that balance would be to open up the 5.9 GHz band to unlicensed operations (more WiFi). That is the band currently allocated for vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

The President issued a spectrum strategy memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies under the heading "Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America's Future." The President made clear that with the burgeoning need for spectrum for industry, the government has to make a concerted to free up more of its spectrum, including to make sure America "wins" in 5G.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.