NTIA software tool shows spectrum use

Shutterstock image (by Pavel Ignatov): Radio antenna, digital concept. 

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has a new software tool that can help in the effort to free up federal wireless broadband spectrum for potential commercial use.

In a Nov. 17 blog post, NTIA Chief of Staff Glenn Reynolds and Deputy Associate Administrator Peter Tenhula said they were enthusiastic about an analytical software tool that allows more detailed graphics-based views of federal spectrum use nationwide. Tenhula leads NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management.

Officials used the tool to help put together the agency's "Quantitative Assessments of Spectrum Usage" report, released on Nov. 17. The report reviews initial efforts to evaluate federal spectrum bands for possible sharing with commercial users.

The Obama administration set a goal of clearing 500 megahertz of spectrum for commercial use by 2020, and devolving or sharing federal spectrum holdings is a big part of the plan. In a detailed document that accompanies the blog post, the NTIA said that after an examination of 960 MHz of federal spectrum, the agency has "identified several bands with potential sharing opportunities, contingent upon the successful completion of feasibility studies."

The NTIA tool can analyze spectrum use by federal wireless frequency assignments, and it provides graphic visualization of federal spectrum coverage, such as the Federal Aviation Administration's project to relocate long-range radar operating in the 1300-1350 MHz sub-band to another band.

"This new capability already is helping in our efforts to assess spectrum usage, including as part of our repurposing initiatives," Reynolds and Tenhula wrote.

NTIA officials plan to incorporate the quantitative assessment processes into reviews of agencies' frequency assignments. Additionally, NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management and its Institute for Telecommunication Sciences research lab will explore more advanced spectrum-monitoring capabilities that back up and supplement the results of the assessments.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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