NTIA’s Redl: Days of Easy Spectrum Decisions ‘Over’

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The era of easy spectrum decisions is over, according to David Redl, Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “We no longer have the luxury of running the same old playbook and expecting the same results,” he told attendees of the Satellite Industry Association leadership dinner Monday evening. He said that’s true for satellite operators, terrestrial wireless providers or unlicensed users.

“Spectrum has become more important than ever to our daily lives and government missions. Competition for spectrum resources has never been more contentious, and we must change to reflect this new reality,” said Redl.

In October, President Trump directed the Secretary of Commerce, working through NTIA, to develop and implement a comprehensive, balanced and forward-looking National Spectrum Strategy. “Our current approach of piecemeal, band-by-band spectrum policymaking is not sustainable. The opportunities are drying up and it is an inefficient process that too often devolves into a zero-sum game,” said Redl.

Redl explained: “The country doesn’t need to choose between terrestrial 5G and satellite services. To start with, satellite will play an important role in 5G connectivity, but perhaps more to the point these uses are not mutually exclusive; it’s just going to take hard work for them to continue to coexist in a more contentious spectrum environment.”

Those involved anticipate delivering the national strategy this summer. However, “the bottom line that we all need to figure out is how we settle on more efficient allocations, more efficient use of the spectrum, and better ways to define, collaborate, and coordinate our realistic, forward-looking spectrum needs,” explained Redl.

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May 8, 2019

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