The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration finally released the much anticipated report to determine the viability of accommodating commercial wireless broadband in the 1755-1850 MHz band. The good news is that the NTIA has determined that the entire 95 MHz can be repurposed. The bad news? It will likely cost in excess of $18 billion and take up to 10 years to transition most of the systems out of the band.
Some critical Department of Defense satellite systems may require continued operation in the band, possibly until 2045. However, the report indicates that, “NTIA also believes that spectrum sharing is a vital component of satisfying the growing demand for access to spectrum and that both federal and non-federal users will need to adopt innovative sharing techniques to accommodate this demand.” It’s refreshing that NTIA and the federal agencies have adopted the notion of sharing.
However, some of the replacement bands identified to accommodate the displaced government systems are encumbered (such as the 2025 – 2110 MHz band used by broadcast auxiliary) and will require relocation of those systems to other spectrum. This will only add to the overall relocation costs and timeframe.
So, for those of you who look at the proverbial glass of water as half full, this report represents a welcome and necessary first step in the process of repurposing the band for commercial wireless systems. For you half empty folks, the report serves to reinforce the complexity and difficulty involved in the process.
Where do you stand on this spectrum sharing issue?
About the Author
Chris Hardy is general manager of Comsearch and president of Comsearch Government Solutions LLC. Chris has been involved in many aspects of the commercial and federal government spectrum management arena since 1981 when he first joined the company. He is a past president of the National Spectrum Managers Association (NSMA) and currently holds the honorary title of fellow. Chris was also vice president and served on the board of directors of Shenandoah Transvideo and Shenandoah County Broadcasting Corporation, a cable TV and a broadcast radio station. Chris holds a bachelor of science degree from Old Dominion University.