NTIA Seeks Public Input on National Spectrum Strategy

The Trump Administration is looking for some more help in crafting a long-term national spectrum strategy, something it has signaled is a priority.

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

NTIA is the President's chief telecom policy advisor.

In a new request for comment Thursday (Dec. 20), NTIA is now seeking public input on that comprehensive plan, which NTIA says needs to include increasing access to spectrum, improving sharing, enhancing spectrum management and "leveraging" ongoing R&D.

“America is experiencing a new age of spectrum-dependent technological innovation, including fifth-generation wireless networks, a vast Internet of Things, and an expanding commercial space industry,” said NTIA administrator David Redl. “As President Trump has made clear, meeting demand for spectrum and unlocking the promise of these technologies requires thoughtful planning and a long-term outlook.”

The strategy also needs to encourage competition in satellite and terrestrial technologies while addressing the challenges of orbital congestion and radiofrequency interference in space, says NTIA.

NTIA wants data and action items form those commenters. The deadline to weigh in is Jan. 22, 2019.

The President made clear in announcing the strategy that with the burgeoning need for spectrum for industry, the government has to make a concerted effort to free up more of its spectrum, including to make sure America wins in 5G. "Federal agencies must thoughtfully consider whether and how their spectrum-dependent mission needs might be met more efficiently and effectively, including through new technology and ingenuity," he wrote.

On the issue of freeing up spectrum, the President is on the same page as Hill Republicans and Democrats, as well as his FCC chair, Ajit Pai, which is to push more spectrum into the commercial marketplace, including through the FCC's 28 GHz spectrum auction, which is currently underway, and a 24 GHz auction to immediately follow .

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.