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Smart City Expo Draws Broad Audience Trading Tips on Making Cities Smarter

July 22, 2019

How can a smart city improve communities? At the recent Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) Expo, city officials across the country dug into this challenge. The three-day meeting welcomed shared stories about smart city projects that are helping communities improve agriculture and health care, reduce traffic congestion, increase energy efficiency, and speed emergency response times.

“Smart tech can deliver drastic improvements for our communities,” said NTIA Acting Assistant Secretary Diane Rinaldo, who talked about the benefits of interagency collaboration at the event. NTIA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate co-sponsor the annual meeting.

Final Tests Completed on 3.5 GHz Spectrum Sharing Model

July 19, 2019

On Thursday, NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) released final test reports to commercial entities that participated in spectrum sharing testing on a model that would allow commercial and military use in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. The completed tests will drive progress toward initial commercial deployments in the band, prized for its excellent mix of capacity and coverage capabilities. With 4G LTE technology for the band available today, industry has already begun to develop specifications to support 5G deployments.

NTIA’s ITS oversaw rigorous testing, which included using a wide variety of scenarios and situations to test a Spectrum Access System’s (SAS) ability to manage CBRS devices while protecting incumbent federal and commercial operations in the 3.5 GHz band. The Federal Communications Commission anticipates relying on the test reports to certify that a SAS is complying with its rules.

Last year, ITS conducted the certification testing on Environmental Sensing Capability sensors for the CBRS band. The ESC sensors are intended to work with the SASs to enable dynamic sharing and were certified by the FCC in late April 2019. The completion of both the SAS and the ESC testing continues a 100-year tradition of ITS performing independent research and engineering in telecommunications to advance efficient spectrum use.

NTIA Files Petition to Update Telecommunications Service Priority

July 17, 2019

Today, NTIA filed a Petition for Rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the rules governing Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) so that it better reflects current technologies and industry practices.  NTIA filed the petition and a draft set of updated rules on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

TSP is a program managed by the DHS’s Emergency Communications Division (ECD). It supports Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial entities; critical infrastructure service providers; first responders; 9-1-1 call centers; health care providers; and other organizations that use telecommunications to perform national security and emergency preparedness functions by providing prioritized installation or restoration of eligible telecommunications services. TSP helps ensure that the most critical telecommunications services will be available as quickly as possible.

The rules governing TSP were developed in the late 1980s and have not been updated since the program began. While the purpose of TSP remains fundamentally unchanged, the program has needed to evolve to accommodate new technologies as well as meet the increasing communications needs of the national security and emergency preparedness community.


Spectrum Sharing Testing Reports Shared with SAS Administrators

June 25, 2019

NTIA’s engineering lab has shared Spectrum Access System (SAS) laboratory test reports with the commercial entities that participated in spectrum sharing testing at the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences. The reports are a critical part of advancing the sharing model in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service 3.5 GHz band.

The reports include a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the test results to ensure accuracy and consistency. This work adds to already substantial work in progress in developing the 3.5 GHz band, which is prime mid-band spectrum that offers a mix of capacity and coverage capabilities. The SAS manages the environment where potential commercial spectrum systems will operate. The Federal Communications Commission anticipates relying on the test reports in certifying that an SAS is in compliance with its rules.

Veteran Spectrum Engineer to Lead Office of Spectrum Management

June 7, 2019

Charles Cooper, a seasoned executive and spectrum engineer with more than 25 years of broad federal and private sector experience, will become the new Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management on July 1. He joins the agency after six years at the Federal Communications Commission directing radio frequency enforcement activities.

Before joining the FCC, Cooper served as senior engineer and partner with du Treil, Lundin, and Rackley, Inc., an engineering firm specializing in radio frequency coordination and design. Cooper is a recognized subject matter expert on engineering principles applicable to a wide mix of communications technologies.

Cooper will lead a dedicated team of recognized spectrum experts whose many years of experience and strong interagency relationships are essential to NTIA’s mission of effectively managing federal spectrum. He will assist the Commerce Department with development of the National Spectrum Strategy, and coordinate interagency preparation for the pivotal World Radiocommunication Conference this fall that sets rules for global use of the radiofrequency spectrum.  

ITU Adopts NTIA Software as Global Standard for Coordinating Spectrum Sharing

May 29, 2019

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has adopted NTIA software as the global standard to optimize radiofrequency (RF) spectrum sharing between air and ground systems across a broad range of frequencies. The software was released earlier this month and is available on NTIA's Github page.

Software standards are a foundational tool for work to enable spectrum sharing, which is playing a key role in helping meet the demand for more airwave capacity as the U.S. advances development of 5G wireless networks and other emerging technologies. Scientists and engineers must be able to accurately calculate radio signal performance under various conditions, and from there build models to protect against interference when two users share the same spectrum.

The ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) oversees global coordination and management of radio-frequency spectrum resource use. The ITU-R adopted NTIA’s P.528 reference software implementation, a method for computing propagation loss for air-to-ground signal paths in the frequency range from 125 MHz to 15,500 MHz.

U.S. Joins with OECD in Adopting Global AI Principles

May 22, 2019

The United States is among 42 countries to approve a new international agreement for building trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI), marking the first significant step in a global approach on this issue. Adherence to the agreement will foster innovation and trust in AI as it establishes principles for the responsible development and stewardship of AI, while ensuring respect for democratic values. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) adopted these official “Recommendations” this week at its annual ministerial meeting in Paris.

The agreement aligns with the President’s Executive Order on AI, which sets five major goals for maintaining U.S. leadership in AI, including a call to work with international partners to ensure continued innovation consistent with American values. The Executive Order also highlights the need for protecting safety, security, privacy, and confidentiality in data used for AI research and development, and the promotion of AI while upholding civil liberties, privacy, and American values.

Cutting the Cord: NTIA Data Show Shift to Streaming Video as Consumers Drop Pay-TV

May 21, 2019

Americans increasingly are moving away from cable and satellite pay-TV services and opting to stream online video offerings, data from NTIA’s latest Internet Use Survey show. While most households still subscribe to cable or satellite television services, the survey shows the proportion of Internet users watching videos online has grown from 45 percent in 2013 to 70 percent in 2017.

Internet-based video services typically provide on-demand streaming from a large content library, and are not dependent on the offerings made available by any particular cable or satellite provider. The shift away from pay-TV services crosses all age groups, but younger Internet users have consistently been much more likely to watch video online than their older counterparts. For example, 86 percent of Internet users between the ages of 15 and 24 watched video online in 2017, compared with just 40 percent of users ages 65 and older (see Figure 1).


Spectrum Sharing Model Gaining Ground

May 1, 2019

An innovative spectrum sharing model in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band is coming closer to reality, NTIA senior spectrum advisor Derek Khlopin reported at the CBRS Alliance annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. this week.

Since this band was initially targeted as a candidate to make available for commercial use nearly a decade ago, NTIA has engaged closely with the Department of Defense and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring the idea to fruition. The 3.5 GHz band affords an excellent mix of capacity and coverage capabilities, defining characteristics of mid-band spectrum,  making the band appealing for future 5G deployment.

NTIA’s engineers and scientists in the Office of Spectrum Management and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) in Boulder, Colorado, have worked closely through each stage of development with their counterparts in government and the private sector. From shrinking exclusion zones into smaller protection zones to designing the concept of dynamic protection areas (DPAs) to assisting the FCC in certifying the components of the spectrum sharing mechanism, it has been a long, complex process, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day.

How NTIA Research Powered a Groundbreaking Spectrum Sharing Effort

May 1, 2019

How can we get more use out of the radio spectrum? One way is by sharing radio bands between users who have never shared before. Consider radio frequencies near 3.5 GHz. Until recently, that part of the spectrum was used almost entirely by U.S. government radars, many of them on Navy aircraft carriers, enabling the same kind of air traffic control for the carriers as radars on land do at airports.

Now, we are preparing for new arrivals in the 3.5 GHz spectrum: communication systems such as cell phones. Operating on land, the new systems will be sharing frequencies with the Navy radars at sea.

More than decade ago, NTIA helped to blaze the trail for this kind of spectrum sharing when it did studies on exactly what it takes to share frequencies between regular radios and radars. Now NTIA has applied that knowledge to the new 3.5 GHz spectrum sharing. Industry and government, including NTIA, have developed a strategy to share 3.5 GHz without any interference from the new shore-based radios to the Navy’s aircraft carrier traffic control radars.

Here’s how it will work: When industry builds out a new 3.5 GHz network on shore, it will also build a network of shoreline radar detectors designed to see the Navy radar’s signal. When one of the Navy’s radars sails within about 120 miles of a detector, the station will see the radar’s signal, note its frequency, and alert the local on-shore communication network to immediately vacate that frequency.