Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris administration issues historic blueprint to advance American innovation, competition, and security in wireless technologies
America’s economy, technological leadership, and security depend on the frequency spectrum, which is the frequencies used to transmit radio signals for all wireless technologies. Spectrum is a strategically essential area in global technology competition because it supports the digital economies of the United States and our allies and partners. Spectrum is essential not only for everyday digital products such as TVs, mobile phones and Wi-Fi routers, but also for essential infrastructure, including critical sectors such as aviation, manufacturing, energy and defence. At the same time, spectrum is a scarce resource, one that needs careful management to maintain American innovation and security.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing a landmark National Spectrum Strategy and Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing U.S. Spectrum Policy, which together create a blueprint for American innovation, competition, and security in advanced wireless technologies. This blueprint includes new measures to improve spectrum management and access – including a study of more than 2,700 MHz of spectrum for potential reuse which will help ensure the public and private sectors have the spectrum resources they need to deliver vital services to every community. in America. It will also ensure that the United States uses spectrum policy as a critical tool to retain global leadership in wireless technology, creating an ecosystem of equipment, products, applications, and a virtuous circle of innovation.
The National Strategy and Presidential Memorandum will guide decisions on how to allocate limited spectrum resources and ensure that these decisions are made through a rigorous and transparent process, which is more important today than ever before, as new technologies create increasing demands for spectrum. Innovations ranging from 5G, precision agriculture, unmanned aerial vehicles, and lunar missions require large amounts of spectrum to operate. Meeting the demands of innovation requires America’s spectrum policy to adapt and improve.
The National Spectrum Strategy released today announces further steps to enhance coordination between agencies, encourage innovation, and ensure efficient use of spectrum. The strategy was developed by the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) in response to President Biden’s directives, and in close coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and multiple federal agencies that rely on spectrum. It outlines four pillars containing key actions to ensure that spectrum policy advances innovation, economic vitality, and security in the United States.
Pillar 1: Spectrum Pipeline to ensure U.S. leadership in advanced and emerging technologies. Spectrum availability is not just a long-term challenge. Technological advances require more efficient use of spectrum today. To meet near-term spectrum needs, the strategy announces the following:
- Near-term in-depth study of 2,786 MHz of spectrum for potential reuse. After receiving extensive public input, NTIA identified five areas of study. These are the bands 3.1-3.45 GHz, 5.03-5.091 GHz, 7.125-8.4 GHz, 18.1-18.6 GHz, and 37.0-37.6 GHz. This combination of bands can support a range of uses, including wireless broadband, drone and satellite operations. NTIA will complete its studies within two years.
- Near-term allocation guidelines. These principles include soliciting input from all stakeholders, data-driven analysis, coordinated implementation of spectrum reuse plans, and ongoing monitoring.
Pillar 2: Long-term collaborative planning to support the country’s evolving spectrum needs. A wide range of private sector stakeholders and government agencies need spectrum to deliver essential products and services. Therefore, long-term decisions on spectrum allocation must include broad inputs and transparent processes, which will help spectrum users make wise long-term investments. To achieve these goals, the strategy announces the following steps:
- A coordinated collaborative framework for long-term spectrum planning. In particular, the Biden-Harris Administration will develop robust processes that include full input from industry stakeholders, federal agencies, and advisory groups in spectrum allocation decisions. This framework will implement the directives of the Presidential Memorandum on increasing interagency coordination, while building on existing interagency memorandums of understanding regarding spectrum decision-making and expanding private sector participation.
- Evidence-based methodology for making spectrum allocation decisions. To support transparent allocation decisions, the Biden-Harris administration will develop values-based models – as well as best practices for technical and economic analyzes – that quantify the benefits of different spectrum allocation options.
- Regular updates to the National Frequency Spectrum Strategy. Based on the broad stakeholder input it receives, NTIA will regularly update the strategy to ensure it supports effective coordination, addresses spectrum policy gaps, and strengthens U.S. spectrum leadership.
Pillar 3: Unprecedented access to spectrum and management through advancing technology. Evolving spectrum techniques and technologies such as spectrum sharing hold great promise for promoting efficient use and ensuring that the United States can achieve spectrum abundance for all users – even though spectrum is limited. To accelerate spectrum innovation and ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of this critical technology, the strategy announces an ambitious effort under which the U.S. government will, within 12 to 18 months, advance research, create incentives for investment, and set measurable goals. To develop spectrum access technology. This effort, which the US government will undertake in cooperation with industry, will include:
- Establish spectrum test rigs. The Biden-Harris administration will create a national testbed for dynamic spectrum sharing within 12 to 18 months. It will also increase the availability of external wireless testbeds and explore the creation of spectrum “sandboxes” – designated areas for spectrum research.
- Develop a national plan for research and development in the field of frequency spectrum. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will develop this plan to identify key areas of action to support spectrum innovation.
- Encouraging research and development in the private sector. Federal agencies will collaborate with industry, technology developers, and academia to encourage dynamic spectrum sharing through innovative technologies and techniques – including cloud-based spectrum management and artificial intelligence-enabled approaches. NTIA will also continue to develop a common spectrum management platform to manage shared access.
The fourth pillar: Expanding the scope of expertise in the field of spectrum and raising the level of national awareness. America’s long-term spectrum innovation depends on its industry-leading spectrum workforce, as well as broader public appreciation of the vital role spectrum plays in our society. To enhance expertise and awareness of the frequency spectrum, the strategy announces the following actions:
- National plan for the workforce in the frequency spectrum. The Biden-Harris Administration will create and periodically update a plan to develop a workforce capable of filling the full range of operational, technical, and policy roles in the future spectrum ecosystem.
- Educating decision makers and the public. Federal agencies will work to ensure that policymakers at all levels, including state, local, and tribal governments, have the information needed to make spectrum decisions. The Department will also prioritize educating members of the public about the role the spectrum plays in daily life.
The Presidential Memorandum serves as the basis for the National Spectrum Strategy by directing NTIA to provide President Biden with a National Spectrum Strategy. The Presidential Memorandum also directs federal agencies to take further action to ensure U.S. spectrum policy is coordinated and consistent in the following ways:
- Reaffirms the joint management of our nation’s spectrum resources by the NTIA and the FCC and reiterates that the NTIA is the President’s principal advisor on spectrum issues and the administration’s voice on matters before the FCC.
- Establish a Spectrum Advisory Council as the primary interagency forum for senior agency leaders to advise NTIA on spectrum policy. The Council consists of agencies that assume federal spectrum duties or have spectrum-related legal authorities.
- Establish a White House-led dispute resolution process in the event that NTIA and an agency disagree on what position the administration should take on a spectrum issue and determine how the White House should resolve those issues.