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.