NTIA’s Cooper on How CBRS Spectrum-Sharing Will Work


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Charles Cooper joined the National Information and Telecommunications Administration a few months ago as associate administrator of the Office of Spectrum Management. Prior, the engineer was on the west coast as a member of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.

Speaking at NTIA’s Spectrum Policy Symposium Tuesday (see other story above), Cooper said NTIA processes average of 7,000 spectrum assignments and 25 equipment certification requests each month. 

Typically the spectrum is used for military communications, air traffic control and weather forecasting.

“Increasingly, our engineers are also helping to manage interactions among all spectrum users, federal and non-federal,” said Cooper. “As these interactions have grown more complex, we have been challenged to develop and implement groundbreaking sharing approaches. Engineers at NTIA and our lab in Boulder, Colorado, — the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences — have worked to leverage our country’s technological leadership to further the goal of balancing all competing demands for spectrum.” 

Some of the collaborative efforts between NTIA, the FCC and industry involve the effort to implement dynamic sharing capabilities in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service band. NTIA carried out engineering and software development to test the spectrum access system (SAS) and environmental sensing capability (ESC) equipment.

Cooper said the SAS and ESC capabilities are integral to the establishment of Dynamic Protection Areas, in coastal areas. “Rather than creating static exclusion zones that would have kept CBRS out of many of our major coastal cities, we have defined geographic areas where sensing and database technologies can be leveraged to dynamically determine how the CBRS systems can operate while protecting federal radars,” he said. 

Cooper emphasized two points concerning the sharing framework that is soon poised to kick off with CBRS licensed-by-rule operations. “First, when you look at the long-term goal of introducing real-time, dynamic sharing mechanisms like this, we are still on the frontier, and much further effort and refinement will no doubt be needed as we go forward.” Second, DPAs have been tailored for operations in the 3.5 GHz band. “Similar approaches may be useful in other bands, but we can’t assume a one-size-fits-all approach will work,” he said.

September 11, 2019

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