Federal Agencies Combine To Clear Federal Spectrum

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Business spectrum licensees are being asked to use this resource more efficiently. The wireless industry asked Congress to make the feds give up some spectrum too, Inside Towers reported. Now it appears some federal agencies are listening.

The FAA is leading a team of federal agencies that wants to make the government’s 793 existing long- and short-range air surveillance radar systems more operationally and financially efficient. The team, which also includes the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, received approval and approximately $71.5 million in funding from the Office of Management and Budget to study the feasibility of clearing some federal spectrum for auction, reports Aviation Today.

Increasing demand for spectrum due to 4G mobile services and the rapid expansion of wireless internet services led to the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2015; it provides funds for federal agencies to perform R&D, engineering studies, planning activities and economic analysis that could potentially lead to a spectrum auction by 2024.

Prompted by the Act, the FAA, DoD, DHS and NOAA formed a cross-agency team called the Spectrum Efficient National Surveillance Radar (SENSR). Through updated surveillance technology, the team hopes to make at least 30 MHz of the 1300 to 1350 MHz band available for reallocation for non-federal use, according to the account.

The bandwidth would be vacated for auction by potentially consolidating existing surveillance radar used to track long-range aircraft, short-range aircraft and weather. The SENSR cross-agency team submitted a plan to officials from OMB, the FCC and NTIA. Officials okayed the plan and submitted it to Congress in January for a mandatory 60-day review.

The team sought industry feedback on possible surveillance solutions through a Request for Information issued in January. Members are reviewing the responses and expect to meet with vendors this summer.

June 7, 2017       

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