President Obama today issued a Presidential Memorandum that builds on the Administration’s commitment to make additional spectrum available for wireless broadband to drive innovation, expand consumer services, and increase job creation and economic growth. The memorandum establishes a set of measures that Federal agencies, in collaboration with industry and other stakeholders, will now take to more aggressively enhance spectrum efficiency and enable access to more spectrum for consumer services and applications.
Many of the new measures are common-sense ways to improve spectrum efficiency. Under the memorandum, an agency that requests a new spectrum assignment or that seeks to procure a spectrum-dependent system will have to document its consideration of alternative approaches and verify that it is pursuing the most spectrum-efficient method, in consideration of all relevant factors including cost and agency mission.
Other aspects of the memorandum build on existing strategies, particularly with respect to advancing collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders. Since 2010 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which manages Federal agency spectrum assignments, has been implementing the President’s directive to identify 500 megahertz of spectrum for wireless broadband by convening agency-industry working groups that are engaged in unprecedented discussions aimed at increasing spectrum efficiency and providing access to certain federally assigned spectrum bands for consumer wireless broadband. Today’s memorandum directs NTIA to expand that collaborative process to encompass additional bands. Towards this end, NTIA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will develop policies and best practices to promote and facilitate greater collaboration among agencies, the private sector, and academia with respect to research, development, testing, and evaluation of spectrum-sharing technologies. Helping accelerate the pace of technological change, the White House announced $100 million in upcoming and proposed Federal investments in public-private research and development of spectrum sharing and other advanced communications technologies.