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NTIA Blog

Unplugged: NTIA Survey Finds Some Americans Still Avoid Home Internet Use

April 15, 2019

NTIA’s most recent Internet Use Survey depicts a rapidly evolving nation eager to take advantage of technological innovation. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables are increasingly dominating the computing landscape, as more Americans than ever use the Internet.

Yet a portion of the population still does not use the Internet at home, consistent with findings in previous NTIA and U.S. Census Bureau surveys on Internet use. According to the most recent data collected in 2017, 22 percent of U.S. households—approximately 28 million households in total—did not use the Internet from home, with most citing either lack of interest or concern about price (see Figure 1).

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Progress on Software Component Transparency

April 8, 2019

NTIA is hosting its fourth multistakeholder meeting April 11 on software component transparency to work on ways to enable a more secure software ecosystem. We’re excited to report that a great deal of progress has been made since the effort started eight months ago. The goal is to increase transparency around the use of third party software components so that when vulnerabilities are detected, there is a way to quickly remedy problems

The idea is that software developers and organizations can create and share a “software bill of materials” (SBOM) that lists the components that make up software – a concept somewhat similar to food ingredient lists for every product on grocery store shelves.

Since first beginning this work in July 2018, the group has reached broad consensus around the basic value of a software bill of materials. Several working groups are digging into the details of how this would work, and studying what a more secure future can look like if stakeholders widely adopt SBOM across the Internet ecosystem.

Digital Economy Accounted for 6.9 Percent of GDP in 2017

April 5, 2019

This blog was cross-posted on BEA's website.

The digital economy accounted for 6.9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, or $1.35 trillion, in 2017, according to a new batch of statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis

How does that compare with traditional U.S. industries? The digital economy ranked just below professional, scientific, and technical services, which accounted for 7.4 percent of GDP, and just above wholesale trade, with a 6.0 percent share. 

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BEA chart

New BEA data also show that:

Supporting the President’s Call to Action Against Opioid Abuse

April 3, 2019

Fighting opioid abuse is a major priority of the Trump Administration. Nearly $6 billion in new funding over the past two years has gone into multiple programs to stop the flow of these dangerous drugs, and help those struggling with addiction. The President’s call to action resulted in the Justice Department’s shutting down the largest “darknet” for the online distribution of drugs in 2017.

We’re proud to announce a new step in the online battle against illegal opioid distribution. The Food and Drug Administration and NTIA have joined in a novel approach to work with domain name industry players to curb online availability and sales of illegal opioids.

As part of the effort, Neustar, the company that administers the .us top level domain on behalf of the Department of Commerce, announced it will step up enforcement of those who violate its existing ban on the sale or distribution of illegal opioids.

NTIA is Seeking New Member for FirstNet Board

April 17, 2019

NTIA, on behalf of the First Responder Network Authority, is seeking a new board member for a seat that will become vacant in August, according to a Federal Register notice. The 15-member FirstNet board includes 12 non-permanent members, the Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney General and Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Prospective candidates must have expertise or experience in at least one of the following areas: public safety, network, technical, and financial. Expressions of interest must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before April 26, 2019.

ITS Marks Next Milestone Toward Spectrum Sharing in 3.5 GHz

December 12, 2018

Engineers at NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) have completed performance certification lab testing of Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) equipment – the sensors that will help enable dynamic sharing in the 3.5 GHz band between U.S. Navy radars and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) devices.

Completing the testing marks another significant step toward making sharing in the 3.5 GHz band a reality. The innovative approach to spectrum management that also includes the Spectrum Access System (SAS) has the potential to make significant spectrum resources available to meet our national broadband needs while preserving access to this critical spectrum for naval operations.

The 3.5 GHz band offers a unique mix of capacity and coverage capabilities, making it a potential ‘sweet spot’ for innovative services including 5G. The SAS-ESC combination successfully unlocking dynamic sharing could provide new tools in NTIA’s efforts to advance the nation’s 21st century spectrum imperatives while protecting vital federal missions.

Digital Divide Among School-Age Children Narrows, but Millions Still Lack Internet Connections

December 11, 2018

America continues to make significant strides in reducing the digital divide among school-age children, according to NTIA’s November 2017 Internet Use Survey. In 2017, 14 percent of the U.S. population between ages 6 and 17 lived in homes with no Internet service, down from 19 percent in 2015 (see Figure 1). These are encouraging numbers that echo our previous report on the narrowing digital divide.

Figure 1: School-Age Children Lacking Internet Service at Home

Still, significant challenges remain, especially for the approximately 7 million school-age children that lived in households without home Internet service in 2017. These children were also less likely than their peers to use the Internet from other locations.

Among children in offline households, just 16 percent went online while at school, and only 5 percent used the Internet from a library or community center, compared with 60 percent and 20 percent of children with home Internet service, respectively. In fact, only 20 percent of school-age children living in offline households used the Internet at all, leaving nearly 6 million of the 7 million children even less connected as schools increasingly rely upon online resources for communication with parents and instruction.

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NTIA Asks Federal Agencies to Assess Future Spectrum Needs

November 30, 2018

As a critical step in delivering on President Trump’s call for development of a national spectrum strategy, NTIA has asked federal agencies to report their future spectrum needs over the next 15 years. The reports will help ensure the federal government is optimizing utilization of the nation’s spectrum resources and meeting the needs of spectrum users, including critical federal missions that serve the American public. Agencies must submit their initial reports by Feb. 21, 2019 and provide final reports by April 23, 2019.

The federal spectrum assessment is one of several tasks in the Presidential Memorandum aimed at building a sustainable, forward-looking national strategy to ensure America’s continued leadership across technology sectors. Transparency in how spectrum is being utilized and collaboration among stakeholders are key elements of the Administration’s approach.  

To that end, NTIA intends to post a public summary of the reports on its website to the extent permitted by law.

For further information, see the memorandum and guidance document.

Road Map: Building a More Resilient Internet

November 29, 2018

Botnets and automated, distributed attacks threaten our nation’s Internet infrastructure. Solving this and other cybersecurity challenges is a top priority for the Trump Administration.

To address these threats, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security have developed a road map that charts a path forward, setting out steps to stop the cyber threat to our internet infrastructure. It outlines a plan for coordination among government, civil society, technologists, academics, and industry sectors to develop a comprehensive strategy for fighting these threats.

The road map builds on the Botnet Report published by the departments in May as required by the Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure. The government and private sector spent a year developing the report in an open and transparent process. The report maps out an ecosystem-wide view of the botnet threat, and lays out actions that could dramatically reduce the threat of botnets and similar attacks.