NTIA has updated its BroadbandUSA website database of 57 federal broadband programs, spanning 14 federal agencies with billions of dollars for broadband grants, loans, and other resources. The site, created with the help of participating federal agencies, fulfills a goal set out in the Trump Administration’s American Broadband Initiative to make it easier for providers and stakeholders to find federal funding and permitting information.
The Trump Administration is poised to make significant progress this year in efforts to promote new 5G opportunities through mid-band spectrum sharing. In January, NTIA reported considerable potential for spectrum sharing options in the 3450-3550 MHz band. This summer, years of work by NTIA engineers in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Defense will culminate in an FCC auction of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) licenses in the adjacent 3550-3650 MHz band.
Incumbent federal operations in both these bands are primarily military radars and include shipborne, airborne, and land-based systems. But limited information exists about actual usage of these bands – what’s sometimes known as spectrum occupancy data.
Today, NTIA’s research lab, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), published a summary report that presents data collected from a two-year effort to measure spectrum occupancy in these two key bands. Interim occupancy reports were provided to NTIA engineers throughout 2018 and 2019, helping to inform CBRS policy. Today’s publication makes a summary of the measurements available to the public for the first time.
Broadband is more important than ever, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has been working to expand access and increase connectivity for all Americans.
We recently provided a one-year update to the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), the Trump Administration’s government-wide approach to connectivity challenges. Five new states – Nebraska, New Mexico, Michigan, Missouri, and Virginia – have joined the initial eight states participating in our National Broadband Availability Map.
We have seen increased participation in our State Broadband Leader’s Network, and our BroadbandUSA website now has the most comprehensive information on state resources available.
At NTIA, we have also worked with the FCC, businesses, and federal stakeholders to make sure our response to connectivity needs remains flexible. Most recently, NTIA supported Verizon’s application to the FCC for a Special Temporary Authority to access radio frequency spectrum due to increased commercial use.
We plan to continue our hard work to meet the needs of the American people.
Federal agencies have made significant progress across government to improve broadband access for Americans in the year following the launch of the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), said speakers in a recent NTIA BroadbandUSA webinar. The Trump Administration announced the launch of the initiative in February 2019 with the release of the Milestones Report, which outlined commitments made by federal agencies to improve broadband resources.
“Extending broadband to all parts of America is a major Administration priority, and the ABI is an important part of our overall strategy,” said Greg Watson, Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The White House plays a leading role on the ABI and is working to streamline the federal permitting process, leverage federal assets for deployment, and maximize the impact of federal funding, Watson said.
This year’s International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technology (ISART) conference will take place Aug. 11-13 in Boulder, Colorado. The conference will focus on what a “zero trust” network environment means from a 5G perspective. The symposium, which is co-sponsored by NTIA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will include panel discussions, presentations, tutorials, and demonstrations from subject matter experts from U.S. and international organizations. Visit the ISART website for more information.
NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network is a powerful forum for connecting local government, industry and stakeholders across the country that are focused on broadband activities. NTIA has spent many years building up these relationships, and recently updated our website with detailed information on state broadband offices and funding opportunities. The SBLN also holds regular meetings for states to improve funding coordination, align policies, and address barriers to collaboration across states and agencies.
Meetings with state broadband leaders helps us gather valuable, on-the-ground data about specific broadband challenges. This work is playing an important role as NTIA continues to build out the National Broadband Availability Map.
We’re pleased to report that five new states have joined the initial eight states participating in our mapping program. The new participating states are Nebraska, New Mexico, Michigan, Missouri and Virginia. The eight initial states are California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
America’s technology leadership in secure and reliable 5G communications is critical to the nation’s economic and international competitiveness. Delivering on these goals, President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget calls for increased funding to modernize the nation’s spectrum management system; improve the security of our telecommunications infrastructure; and upgrade advanced communications research.
The budget would spend an additional $25 million to modernize the spectrum management system to accommodate advanced technologies. With these resources, NTIA will create a secure, flexible, and automated spectrum management system that would improve with the integrity and confidentiality of data; reduce “white space” between spectrum assignments; reengineer business processes; and automate workflows.
The budget also would add $3 million to for the Advanced Communications Research program at the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, NTIA’s research lab in Boulder, Colorado. The funds would be used to replace equipment the lab uses for research and testing of 5G technologies to help the United States transition from 4G LTE. To improve NTIA’s ability to manage supply chain risks to our nation’s telecommunications infrastructure, the budget calls for an additional $2.1 million and six new positions.
Overall, the President’s FY2021 budget request for NTIA is $72.2 million.
Spectrum sharing strategies hold great promise for meeting the growing needs of commercial and federal users. This is an area of intense study at NTIA as we seek to protect critical federal missions while enabling new commercial opportunities. As part of an assessment conducted with the Department of Defense, we are happy to announce significant progress in finding potential spectrum sharing options for the 3450-3550 MHz band, as outlined in a new technical report.
Federal operations in the 3450-3550 MHz band include shipborne, airborne, and land-based systems — primarily radars. Our report points to a clear possibility for real time spectrum sharing that would protect these critical missions, while providing attractive opportunities for commercial business. The report analyzes the potential for these federal systems to share spectrum with outdoor base stations, indoor access points, and mobile user equipment.
The report assesses two hypothetical commercial deployments, operating at various power levels, which industry has said would be desirable. The next step would be to study how often each of the federal systems actually is used, and then develop mechanisms for reliably informing commercial operations when federal systems are operating nearby.
As we close the books on 2019, NTIA took stock of strides made in the past year on key Administration priorities. Topping the list is our work to make spectrum available for 5G, including completing engineering work to put critical mid-band spectrum to use in the 3.5 GHz band. NTIA also is proud of our work with government partners to enhance broadband connectivity, improve technology equipment in 911 call centers, and secure networks from cyber threats.
Ensuring U.S. Leadership in 5G, Broadband Opportunities
NTIA took a number of steps to support the Administration’s goal to advance 5G leadership and expand broadband connectivity around the country. We worked with the Department of Commerce to take stock of our spectrum assets and plan for future needs. Nearly 5.9 gigahertz of spectrum has been made available for licensed wireless services, including 5G, according to our report on efforts to re-purpose spectrum for commercial use.
We were excited to see the long-awaited initial commercial deployments of broadband wireless services in the 3.5 GHz band, after years of groundbreaking engineering work and testing by NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences.
Participants in NTIA’s software security multistakeholder effort made significant progress this year, publishing the first set of community-drafted documents to offer guidance around the practice of a software bill of materials (SBOM). The SBOM functions as a “list of ingredients” for software that can help organizations keep track of the underlying components that make up almost all software today.
We are excited that the broader community is already using these resources, and we’re looking forward to refining the concept at the technical level. During the most recent meeting in November, the community agreed to continue their work in 2020, with a focus on making transparency an easy-to-use feature of the software marketplace.
Moving forward, in four parallel work streams, stakeholders plan to: