DOD not ready to share 3G spectrum
- By Bryant Jordan
- Dec 03, 2000
The Defense Department has not said "no" to sharing radio spectrum with
future commercial users of third-generation wireless technologies, but DOD
isn't ready to say "yes," either.
Mike Williams, a senior engineer with the Joint
Spectrum Center at the Pentagon, said DOD does not want to be hard-line
about holding on to spectrum that's presently dedicated to its purposes.
"But we've got to maintain our operations capability," he told federal and
industry telecommunications officials gathered Friday for the second public
hearing on 3G wireless.
The meeting, hosted by the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration, also included representatives from the Federal
Communications Commission. NTIA is the agency charged with developing international
telecommunications policy for the United States.
DOD concluded that sharing frequencies would require substantial distance
between military users and commercial users, according to DOD's interim
report on 3G technology.
Relocating some military operations to remote areas is a possible solution,
said Robert Brock Jr., a science adviser working under contract to the Joint
Spectrum Center. But he said that few truly remote areas exist, and as 3G
wireless develops, it's unlikely that there will be areas it doesn't serve.
"You can go into the middle of Montana, and someone is going to run
[the technology] down the interstate," Brock said.
Segmenting parts of the radio spectrum appears more promising, Williams
said, but segmentation also has problems for defense systems.
In November, NTIA head Gregory Rohde delivered his agency's interim
report on 3G, which indicated that segmentation and sharing of bandwidth
would be possible in the 1755-1850 MHz band. This is the spectrum in which
federal systems operate, including government space systems, medium-capacity,
conventional communications, military tactical relay radios and air combat
Final reports on 3G wireless will be issued by DOD, NTIA and the FCC
next year. Meanwhile, the FCC will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking
for spectrum allocation on Dec. 31.