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NTIA Applauds CSMAC’s Work to Make More Spectrum Available for Commercial Use

August 28, 2013
News Media Contact
Juliana Gruenwald

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today applauded the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) for its ground breaking work to explore spectrum sharing arrangements between federal agencies and private industry. CSMAC’s work is an important step toward achieving President Obama’s goal to nearly double the amount of commercial spectrum available for wireless broadband this decade.

CSMAC, made up of a diverse group of private sector spectrum experts, has been overseeing five working groups that have been working collaboratively with federal government representatives for over a year to develop recommendations to facilitate the transition of as much as 110 megahertz of spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1850 MHz bands from federal use to commercial broadband.  Given the exploding demand for spectrum, NTIA has proposed spectrum sharing as a new path forward for repurposing spectrum that meets the needs of both industry and federal users.

“CSMAC’s work marks an important milestone in the collaborative efforts between industry and government stakeholders to free up additional spectrum for wireless broadband while balancing the mission critical capabilities of federal agencies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “We’ve learned a lot from their early efforts, and recognize that there will be opportunities to improve and refine the process as CSMAC continues its work. It’s imperative that government agencies and the private sector continue to find innovative ways to improve how we promote efficiency and solve these complex issues.”

CSMAC set up the following five working groups that were organized around particular federal operations that currently share this spectrum with each other throughout the country:

  • Working Group 1 – 1695-1710 MHz meteorological-satellite (Final Report, Rev. 1)
  • Working Group 2 – 1755-1850 MHz law enforcement video, explosive ordnance disposal, and other short distance links (Final Report)
  • Working Group 3 – 1755-1850 MHz satellite control and electronic warfare (Final Report)
  • Working Group 4 – 1755-1850 MHz point-to-point microwave (Final Report)
  • Working Group 5 – 1755-1850 MHz airborne operations (Final Report)

In April, NTIA transmitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the first two CSMAC reports containing the recommendations developed by Working Groups 1 and 2. The new reports will also be sent to the FCC for inclusion in the record of its pending rulemaking for Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-3). 

Using standard methodologies and approaches for predicting and evaluating harmful interference, some of the groups evaluated each type of federal system and the prospective commercial technology solutions to help NTIA determine the fastest, most feasible, and most cost-effective ways forward to enable commercial broadband access in these spectrum bands.

In addition to relocation and geographic sharing options, some of the working groups considered the possibility that commercial users and federal agencies could access the same frequencies in the same geographic areas through greater spectrum availability and the use of new flexible and agile commercial technologies. In some cases, sharing is not feasible and the CSMAC is recommending the relocation of federal systems.

Some CSMAC members commented that they believed that further improvements could be made in spectrum sharing analysis methods. The U.S. Department of Defense has begun sharing additional information with specific industry representatives to help improve the analysis. Any new agreed-upon techniques may better inform potential spectrum auction participants and help ease the spectrum relocation transition process.

The CSMAC also announced today several new areas of work. It will look at a number of issues including:

  • how to update enforcement tools for new, more dynamic  forms of sharing;  
  • how to implement the future work described in the working group reports toward transition analysis;
  • how can agencies best quantify their actual spectrum use;
  • spectrum management via access to databases;
  • providing government greater flexibility and options through access to non-federal bands; and
  • paying for costs of spectrum sharing when there is no auction.

Separate Statements


About CSMAC:

The U.S. Department of Commerce established the CSMAC in 2004 to advise NTIA on a broad range of issues regarding spectrum policy. The members are spectrum policy experts, appointed as "Special Government Employees" from outside the Federal government. Committee members offer expertise and perspective on reforms to enable new technologies and services, including reforms that expedite the American public's access to broadband services, public safety, and long-range spectrum planning.

About NTIA:

NTIA is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and economic growth. To find out more about NTIA, visit