3G wireless users may have to share
- By Bryant Jordan
- Nov 17, 2000
To accommodate commercial uses of 3G (third-generation) wireless technology,
some government users will have to move and some frequencies will remain
dedicated to the Department of Defense, according to an interim report released
Wednesday by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
"This interim report indicates that segmentation and sharing are possibilities
in the 1755-1850 MHz band," said Gregory Rohde, assistant secretary of commerce
and head of the NTIA. Industry and federal officials must begin looking
at sharing the bandwidth, as well as possible re-allocation options, he
said, in order to make it work.
The 3G wireless technology promises high-speed, two-way mobile Internet
access and communications.
If current federal users have to move, they must be reimbursed by private-sector
interests who win the rights for commercial use of the bandwidth, according
to the NTIA report, "Federal Operations in the 1755-1850 MHz band." NTIA
is a Department of Commerce agency charged with developing international
telecommunications policy for the United States.
For the interim report, officials looked at four federal systems that
operate on the 1755-1850 MHz band:
* Tracking, telemetry and control of U.S. government space systems.
* Medium-capacity, conventional — that is, non-mobile — communications
* Military tactical radio relay training.
* Air-combat training systems.
Based on data supplied by DOD, officials concluded that commercializing
part of the spectrum would cause serious problems because it is already
dedicated to DOD satellite, radio relay and air-combat training systems.
DOD satellites are programmed to operate on particular channels before
launch and cannot be changed afterward, said Art Brodsky, a spokesman for
NTIA. A satellite's life cycle can extend past 10 years.
The Federal Communications Commission intends to issue a notice of proposed
rule-making for spectrum allocation on Dec. 31.
Final reports by the FCC and NTIA are slated for March 2001. The NTIA's
March report will look at the potential for re-allocating spectrum within
the 1755-1850 MHz band, according to Rohde.
The FCC, in coordination with the NTIA, will identify spectrum for commercial
3G uses in July 2001.