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NTIA Launches Updated Federal Broadband Funding Guide

September 19, 2022 by NTIA

Access to the Internet plays a critical role, serving as a catalyst for work, education, essential services, and more as part of routines in everyday life. But, even today, for many Americans, access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet is still out of reach. 

The federal government operates a number of programs to make funding available to States, local leaders, and other eligible recipients who are engaged in high-speed internet-related activities for their communities. 

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has been working to expand access and increase connectivity across the U.S. through the Internet for All effort by increasing awareness of federal funding available for closing the digital divide. 

As part of that mission, NTIA released an update to the Federal Funding site, which serves as a comprehensive, “one-stop shop” of resources for potential applicants seeking federal broadband funding. 

The NTIA-FCC MOU: What A New Era of Spectrum Coordination Will Look Like

September 13, 2022 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

The recent update of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and NTIA memorializes a shared commitment between the two agencies to renew a partnership critical to jointly managing the nation’s spectrum resources.   

Now the work begins to translate this agreement into consistent, meaningful practice. Given the scope of the document, there is quite a lot for the FCC and NTIA to do to fulfill the potential of the MOU.  

The agreement reflects the need for the two national spectrum managers to share information and communicate frequently and effectively. The agreement’s major provisions echo and anchor the goals of the Spectrum Coordination Initiative announced this past February.   

The MOU promotes:  

Understanding millimeter-band propagation and how it can be used for 5G, 6G, and beyond

September 12, 2022 by NTIA

Last month, NTIA’s research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), released NTIA Technical Report TR-22-561, “Outdoor Propagation Measurements in the 37–40 GHz Band in Boulder, Colorado.” The measured data summarized in this report will be provided to NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management (OSM) to be used to validate the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and other millimeter-wave propagation prediction models that are essential to further development of advanced fifth generation (5G) wireless technologies.  

5G wireless networks and technologies promise not only an enhanced consumer experience of cellular connectivity, but also revolutionary new applications such as smart electrical grids, smart cities, telehealth, autonomous vehicles, and many more. These new applications depend on very high connection speeds, very low latency, enormous data capacity, and ubiquitous connectivity. Fully achieving the promise of 5G technologies requires access to radio spectrum frequencies in what is known as the millimeter wave band (above 24 GHz) that have not previously been widely exploited for telecommunications services.  

Adding New Senior Leadership to Our Growing Team

August 15, 2022 by Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information

August is often described as a quiet time here in Washington. That hasn’t been the case at NTIA.  

ITS Research on Spectrum Engineering Showcased at IEEE

August 11, 2022 by NTIA

NTIA serves a critical role in ensuring the most effective and efficient use of spectrum across the federal government. With a focus on working toward a coordinated, national approach to spectrum use, promoting evidence-based approaches to spectrum allocation is a critical endeavor. Much effort is currently focused on spectrum sharing. NTIA’s research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), is bringing needed clarity to the challenge through its specialized engineering studies known as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) studies.

Specialized engineering studies assess the ability of wireless telecommunications systems, in particular emerging wireless technologies such as 5G, to function acceptably in their electromagnetic environment. If multiple systems are operating in the same or adjacent spectrum, EMC studies can determine whether they all function for their intended purposes or will cause unacceptable interference and performance degradation. 

As a leading expert in the essential EMC engineering disciplines -  spectrum measurements, spectrum propagation modeling, and interference analysis - ITS performs EMC studies to support NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management and inform spectrum sharing policy and regulation as well as to answer EMC questions posed by other federal agencies. 

Attending the first Generation Connect Global Youth Summit  

August 03, 2022 by Pearl Risberg, Intern in NTIA’s Office of International Affairs 

In early June, around 500 young people from more 100 countries descended on Kigali, Rwanda for the ITU’s first Generation Connect Global Youth Summit. I was lucky to represent NTIA and the United States as part of a delegation sponsored by USTTI.  

The Summit sought to bring together “digital natives” – those of us who grew up in the age of the Internet – to interact directly with global business leaders, government officials, and policymakers. In his opening remarks, Rwandan Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente recognized young people as a major asset to the global community. At the same time, I—along with my fellow youth delegates—gained a new respect for our digital fluency and how it can bring about change.  

The Summit was made up of intergenerational dialogues and small group sessions on core issues like the future of work, the gender digital divide, and digital solutions for climate action. I learned about other young people’s work to address policy challenges, like a group of young Nigerian entrepreneurs training children in digital literacy, a Ugandan engineer who aspires to become an astronaut, and an ICT analyst for the government of Trinidad and Tobago, among many others.  

Registration is Open for ISART 2022, Held June 13-16

June 02, 2022 by NTIA

Registration is now open for the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies (ISART)™ 2022, which will explore the theme: “Evolving Spectrum-Sharing Regulation through Data-, Science-, and Technology-Driven Analysis and Decision-Making.”

The goal for ISART 2022 is to chart a technical roadmap and gain consensus for specific data-, science-, and technology-driven means to evolve and expedite spectrum sharing analyses and decision-making and identify opportunities for continuous improvements and developments beyond the current linear spectrum sharing process.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson will open the conference, which is hosted by the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), the science and engineering laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The virtual conference will be held over four days:

  • June 13: 1 to 4 p.m. MDT
  • June 14: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. MDT
  • June 15: 1 to 4:30 p.m. MDT
  • June 16: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. MDT

ISART is a U.S. government-sponsored science and engineering discussion-based conference that brings together government, industry, and academic leaders (both domestic and international) for the purpose of forecasting the development and application of advanced radio technologies.

How Public Input Helped Shape NTIA’s High-Speed Internet Grant Programs Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

May 12, 2022 by NTIA

On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included a historic $65 billion investment to ensure that everyone in America has access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was allocated more than $48 billion of this funding to work with states and other stakeholders to lay the critical groundwork to connect every American. 

NTIA developed a whole-of-government, whole-of-nation strategy to meet President Biden’s goal to connect everyone in America to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet service. On January 7, 2022, NTIA requested public comment on a wide range of policy and program considerations associated with the new high-speed internet grant programs authorized and funded by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The request for comment was a vital part of NTIA’s strategy, allowing a broad and diverse set of stakeholders to inform program development and help close the digital divide and meet the ambitious goal of connecting every American. This process bolstered NTIA’s work and improved the number and quality of ideas under consideration as the agency developed the Notices of Funding Opportunity for the new grant programs.

New NTIA Data Show Enduring Barriers to Closing the Digital Divide, Achieving Digital Equity

May 11, 2022 by Rafi Goldberg, Senior Policy Advisor, Digital Equity, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what many already knew: high-speed internet access is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. As workplaces and schools shifted to online environments, families that lacked access to affordable, reliable, high-speed connections, appropriate devices, and digital skills fell further behind.

Newly released data from the 2021 NTIA Internet Use Survey show that historically less-connected communities used the Internet and connected devices in greater numbers than they did two years ago. Despite that progress, the substantial disparities that NTIA has tracked for decades continued to be evident, highlighting the urgent need to work toward digital equity in the United States.

The 2021 NTIA Internet Use Survey represents the first comprehensive federal data on how Internet use in America has evolved since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results make clear that our nation faces substantial challenges to achieving full digital equity. Over the coming months, NTIA will continue to analyze the data to help inform the important policy choices that will be made as part of the new high-speed internet programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Digital Equity Act, in particular, references the Internet Use Survey as a key data point to help determine award amounts for the $1.5 billion State Digital Equity Planning and Capacity Grant Programs.

Introducing the Tribal Broadband Planning Toolkit

May 10, 2022 by NTIA

A successful broadband project begins with a broadband plan, one that lays out the goals and path forward to enhance internet access and meaningful use within a target area or community. But there are many moving pieces involved in creating a broadband plan. BroadbandUSA’s Tribal Broadband Planning Toolkit aims to simplify the process for tribes. It provides the guidance, knowledge, and resources to design, implement, and then execute a broadband plan in tribal communities.

While this toolkit can be used at any time and for any broadband planning purpose – for NTIA or other programs – it comes at an especially opportune time: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) allocated an additional $2 billion and relaxed some of the program requirements to the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

The toolkit outlines seven, common elements that serve as the building blocks of a tribal broadband plan. Designed for interactive use, each element has a dedicated worksheet and a tab in an accompanying, downloadable Excel-based template. The elements are:

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