NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is seeking input for the 2022 International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies (ISART) tentatively planned for the week of June 13, 2022. ISART is a science and engineering discussion-based conference that brings together government, industry, and academic leaders (both domestic and international). Its purpose is to forecast the development and application of advanced radio technologies and the application of careful engineering and research on radio technologies within the context of spectrum management, policy, and regulation. Our goal for ISART 2022 is to chart a roadmap and gain consensus for data-, science-, and technology-driven means to evolve and expedite spectrum sharing analyses and decision-making.
Earlier this year, NTIA issued a Request for Comment (RFC) on a wide range of policy and program considerations associated with new broadband grant programs authorized and funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The RFC period was open from January 10, 2022, to February 4, 2022. NTIA welcomed input from all interested parties, conducted extensive stakeholder outreach, and received comments reflecting a diverse range of backgrounds and stakeholder groups.
NTIA received 557 written comments, which are available for public view at Regulations.gov.
The written comments collected by NTIA will serve an important role in the development and implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law broadband programs. The written comments will inform the drafting of the Notice of Funding Opportunity for each program, shaping the parameters of program success, guiding program execution, and promoting digital equity and access for all communities.
NTIA thanks all individuals and organizations who submitted written comments through this process. Your constructive feedback is critical to NTIA’s next steps of designing and implementing these programs and meeting the goal to ensure all Americans have access to affordable high-speed internet.
In 2018, NTIA launched its Multistakeholder Process on Software Component Transparency, bringing together an active, engaged community to formulate and establish a software bill of materials (SBOM) – a nested inventory that makes up the “ingredients list” for software.
The stakeholders in our process initially focused on defining the problem: the what, the why, and the how of software component transparency. They established common, consensus definitions, and emphasized the importance of a "baseline" SBOM.
Experts from the healthcare and medical device community stepped up early in the process to demonstrate that this idea was both feasible and useful for their industry. They launched the first SBOM "proof of concept," sharing their experiences, successes, and challenges in public documentation from which the broader community could learn.
Next, the community shifted its efforts to jumping technical hurdles, as well as identifying existing tools and gaps in the ecosystem.
They emphasized a mantra of "crawl, then walk, then run" to promote adoption across the ecosystem. They developed videos to help educate the public.
Along the way, what was an obscure idea became a key part of the global agenda around securing software supply chains.
Over the last few months, NTIA’s National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) has added Nevada, Louisiana, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico to its growing roster of participants. To date, the NBAM includes 38 states, two U.S. territories, and five federal agencies: US Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
The NBAM is a geographic information system platform which allows for the visualization and analysis of federal, state, and commercially available data sets. This includes data from the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Census Bureau, Universal Service Administrative Company, USDA, Ookla, Measurement Lab, BroadbandNow, White Star, and the state governments. The mapping platform provides users, including administrators from the 40 participating states and territories, with access to the NBAM and its data to better inform broadband projects and funding decisions in their states.
The security and privacy landscape has continued to evolve since NTIA first asked about it in our 2015 Internet Use Survey. High-profile data breaches and debates about the role of technology in people’s lives have kept concerns about privacy and security in the forefront. The spread of emerging technologies such as smart home devices and always-on voice assistants, as well as business models predicated on the collection, use, and sale of personal information, means these concerns have taken on increased urgency.
As NTIA will be exploring in our listening sessions this week, these concerns are especially acute for those in marginalized or underserved communities. These communities can sometimes face higher risks of harm from the loss of privacy or misuse of data.
In 2019, most Internet-using households in America expressed concerns regarding digital privacy, according to data from the NTIA Internet Use Survey. While fewer households had concerns about digital privacy and security and deterred online activities in 2015 vs. 2017, rates have held steady from 2017 to 2019. In 2019, 73 percent of Internet-using households in 2019 had significant concerns about online privacy and security risks, and 35 percent said such worries led them to hold back from some online activities (see Figure 1).
Every day, personal information is used to make important decisions: about what advertisements we see, what types of health care is offered in our communities, and what fields of study our educational institutes believe we are best suited for.
The collection, processing, and sharing of personal information can create serious risks for everyone. For racial minorities, people living with disabilities, people living in poverty, and other marginalized and underserved communities, the risks can be especially acute.
For example, advertisers can both intentionally and inadvertently use digital tools that allow for harmful discrimination in ad targeting, potentially reproducing historical patterns of discrimination in areas such as housing or employment opportunities. Even when targeting criteria does not directly use traits such as race or gender, proxy indicators of these characteristics can nonetheless perpetuate discrimination.
The Biden Administration has made it a clear policy priority to advance racial equity and support underserved communities. As public policy discussions around privacy continue to advance, it is apparent that robust privacy protections are critical to achieving this goal.
Every three years, NTIA makes recommendations to the Copyright Office in a process in which the Librarian of Congress determines exemptions to the anti-circumvention provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This provision prohibits the circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.
This provision, while designed to deter copyright infringement, can also make it more difficult for Americans to engage in a variety of non-infringing activities, such as repairing machinery, conducting security research, and making media accessible for persons with disabilities.
The Copyright Office runs a rulemaking process to provide the public with an opportunity to propose and comment on possible exemptions. NTIA works diligently to analyze the record generated during this rulemaking and offer the Copyright Office recommendations that support the digital economy and the right to engage in non-infringing activities.
The Eighth Triennial Rulemaking was conducted against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants noted the barriers faced by educators using videos in virtual classrooms, researchers who require access to works undergoing preservation at libraries, archives, and museums, and everyday Americans who want to repair their own products. In these and other situations, NTIA supported exemptions that maximized relief to Americans.
Earlier this year, NTIA issued a 5G Challenge Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD), requesting information on how to use Prize Challenges to accelerate the development of the open 5G ecosystem and support DoD missions.
NTIA received 51 responses to the NOI, and today NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is releasing an analysis of those responses to inform future collaborations between DoD and NTIA, including the potential of an initial 5G Challenge in 2022.
The purpose of 5G Challenges would be to support open interfaces, interoperability, and modularity – accelerating market forces that promote vendor diversity. Open and interoperable 5G networks will encourage new market participation, allowing innovative companies to develop plug-and-play 5G components and integrated systems. Organizations would be able to optimize their network’s operational efficiency by mixing and matching components from multiple vendors.
This month, NTIA’s Communications Supply Chain Risk Information Partnership (C-SCRIP) is beginning a broad public outreach program by sending out its first C-SCRIP Update newsletter to inform our partners about events, announcements, and funding opportunities related to supply chain security. The first Update contains information on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Reimbursement Program and recent Open RAN Showcase, as well as NTIA resources on broadband grants and Software Bill of Materials.
The C-SCRIP information-sharing program demonstrates NTIA’s commitment to assisting small, medium, and rural communications companies with the identification and management of supply chain risks. Congress tasked NTIA with creating C-SCRIP to facilitate the sharing of security risk information between the federal government, trusted providers of advanced telecommunications services, and suppliers of communications equipment and services.
With the launch of the C-SCRIP Update, we are transitioning to the next phase of our C-SCRIP implementation. This phase will feature regular communications with stakeholders, including in-person briefings and conference showcases. As the program matures, C-SCRIP will work with stakeholders to refine what information will be shared in order to assist the community’s efforts in securing U.S. communications networks against supply chain threats.
NTIA’s 2021 Spectrum Policy Symposium brought together key policymakers and industry experts to explore how a “whole of government” approach to spectrum policy can address U.S. priorities for 21st century global leadership.
The event featured as keynote speakers U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike F. Doyle Jr. (D-Pa.), and Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. Each of them highlighted the importance of spectrum to the economy, U.S. technological leadership, innovation, and federal government missions.
In addition, the event’s afternoon sessions featured a preview of the 2022 International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies (ISART), which NTIA’s Boulder, Colorado-based Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) plans to convene in the spring of next year. During the preview, ITS issued a call for papers to further the development of spectrum-sharing assessments through analyses driven by data, science and technology.
Throughout the keynotes and the accompanying panel discussions, policymakers and experts underlined the key themes of cooperation, technological innovation, and engineering-driven spectrum management solutions to spur America’s economic and infrastructure growth.