The Biden Administration has released its long-awaited National Spectrum Strategy, which lays out a blueprint for modernizing the federal government’s approach to spectrum access, allocation, and management. Developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Strategy establishes “four pillars” to “ensure that spectrum policy advances U.S. innovation, economic vitality, and security.”  The strategy’s technical emphasis is on the study of five spectrum bands, totaling 2,786 megahertz, which can potentially be used in the future for various commercial or shared uses. These bands include the lower 3 GHz (3.1-3.45 GHz), 5030-5091 MHz, 7125-8400 MHz, 18.1-18.6 GHz, and 37.0-37.6 GHz bands.  Each of these bands presents unique opportunities and challenges for repurposing and shared use between federal and private sector entities.

Pillar One: The Strategy’s first pillar focuses on making spectrum used by the Federal Government available for commercial use.   The document identifies five spectrum bands totaling 2,786 megahertz for study to determine suitability for potential repurposing:

  • Lower 3 GHz (3.1-3.45 GHz):  The “DoD determined that sharing is feasible if certain advanced interference-mitigation features and a coordination framework to facilitate spectrum sharing are put in place.”
  • 5030-5091 MHz: The FCC is expected to take “near-term action to facilitate the deployment of [unmanned aircraft systems] in this band,” after which the band will be studied for optimizing unmanned aircraft system access.
  • 7125-8400 MHz: This band will be studied for potential wireless broadband use.
  • 18.1-18.6 GHz: The 500 MHz in this band will be studied for expanded federal and non-federal satellite operations.
  • 37-37.6 GHz: The 600 MHz of spectrum in this band will be studied for the potential “to implement a co-equal, shared-use framework” for both federal and non-federal users.

Continue Reading Biden Administration Releases National Spectrum Strategy

Comments responding to an FCC notice of inquiry that seeks insight into how to obtain more sophisticated real-time knowledge of non-Federal spectrum usage have highlighted the importance and potential of AI and machine learning systems.

The Satellite Industry Association stated that, “sensing the physical surroundings together with AI will further enhance situational awareness. Sensing supports various innovative applications such as high precision positioning and localization of devices and objects, high resolution and real-time 3D-mapping for automated and safe driving/transport, digital twins, and industrial automation.”

SpectrumX recognized the “substantial opportunity to apply [AI] tools to spectrum data analysis and spectrum management,” while Lockheed Martin agreed that “artificial intelligence [] and machine learning [] offer promise in evaluating big datasets and providing . . .  insights into spectrum use over time, spectral band, and geography.” The NCTA stated that “Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s optimism on the transformative capabilities of AI and ML tools is well-founded,” noting that “AI and ML can be powerful tools to mine unstructured data and digest it into a more user-friendly format.”Continue Reading Commenters Discuss the Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in How the FCC Should Manage Spectrum 

The Federal Communications Commission has released a long-awaited notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with the goal of bringing back its 2015 net neutrality rules that classified broadband internet as a common carrier and prohibited the blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of content. The 2015 rules, promulgated under the Obama administration, were repealed in 2017 by former Commissioner Ajit Pai.

Though many expected President Biden’s 2020 victory to result in re-adoption of the 2015 rules, President Biden did not appoint a fifth Commissioner to the FCC until recently, leaving the agency at a 2-2 standstill down party lines for the past two years. With the appointment of Commissioner Anna Gomez, Biden’s FCC is now at full operating capacity to move forward on major actions and reestablish the net neutrality rules. And with the NPRM, the Commission has demonstrated that there are a multitude of changed conditions that necessitate re-adopting the 2015 rules: the NPRM establishes “the increased importance of [broadband internet access service] to consumers since the onset of the pandemic,” that consumers’ perception of broadband internet access service as a standalone telecommunications service is “more pronounced now than it was in 2015,” and that “developments in recent years have highlighted national security and public safety concerns arising in connection with the U.S. communications sector[.]”Continue Reading FCC Issues Draft Net Neutrality Order For October 2023 Meeting