In an important step to making more spectrum available for commercial use, NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) recently launched a new online site that enables commercial entities and federal agencies to coordinate spectrum use in the 1695-1710 MHz band, one of three bands recently made available by auction for Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). The new NTIA portal fulfills an important requirement to enable sharing in the 1695-1710 MHz portion of this prime spectrum.
Although many federal incumbents will eventually relocate out of the AWS bands, relocation is not feasible for agencies that operate meteorological satellite Earth stations in the 1695-1710 MHz band. To make this band available for sharing, the Federal Communications Commission devised rules that require commercial auction winners to successfully coordinate with federal incumbents prior to operating in geographic areas (coordination zones) around these stations, which will continue to operate indefinitely.
Federal incumbents , including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Department of the Interior and National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, turned to ITS to create an online spectrum coordination portal for spectrum sharing in the 1695-1710 MHz AWS-3 band. A team of 10 ITS developers, documentation experts and quality assurance personnel worked over a period of five months to develop the portal. The solution was designed to be cost efficient, modular and scalable, combining commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software into an advanced web-based architecture. Hosted by NTIA, the final product is a customized web-based database storage software solution that manages the flow of information between commercial wireless operators deploying broadband wireless networks and federal agencies who have meteorological satellite Earth station operations in the identified coordination zones.
The portal enables the commercial operators and incumbents to exchange information and communicate about radio communication engineering issues to enable successful sharing. It is available for use seven days a week, 24 hours a day at https://rfcp.ntia.doc.gov.
The launch of this streamlined method for the coordination of spectrum sharing between federal and non-federal users represents a significant advance towards facilitating expanded commercial use of the spectrum while ensuring federal agencies continue to have access to the airwaves they need to perform critical functions for the American people.
Members of the RFCP project team, clockwise from bottom left: George Engelbrecht, Elizabeth Lor, Julie Kub, Teresa Rusyn, Kristen Davis, Ken Tilley, and Billy Kozma. Photo by L. Segre.