Spectrum

NTIA launches Spectrum.gov

large broadcasting antenna

Federal regulators are moving ahead with plans to open large swathes of the federal spectrum for sharing with the private sector. Although concrete changes are still at least a few years away, agencies are seeking to comply with a 2013 presidential directive to report on their spectrum holdings and use, with the goal of identifying opportunities for sharing.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commerce Department component that manages federal spectrum holdings, has just launched Spectrum.gov to warehouse the inventory reports. The site does not have visualizations, open-source APIs or extensible datasets. Instead, it is a page on NTIA's main website that offers a series of reports on government spectrum holdings in the bands from 225 MHz to 5 GHz.

The reports, organized by band, give a sense of the complexity involved in opening federal spectrum to commercial use. For instance, the 420-450 MHz band includes 11 federal users and 2,450 applications. Federal uses include mobile land radio, fixed and mobile satellite, radio astronomy, ship-to-shore communications, air-to-air communications, aircraft landing systems, space communications, radio transmitters on weather balloons, and research and development. Some bands are crowded with federal users while others have just a few highly localized government applications or none at all.

The data is locked up in PDFs, so it will take some effort to "liberate" the information, in the parlance of open-data activists, and present it in more accessible formats along the lines of the Federal Communications Commission's Spectrum Dashboard. But the raw materials are now available to create an interactive map of federal spectrum holdings and use, broken down by band, application type and federal agency.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group