Telecommunications: Preliminary Information on the Federal Communications Commission's Spectrum Allocation and Assignment Process
Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The radiofrequency spectrum is a natural resource used to provide an array of wireless communications services, such as mobile voice and data services, radio and television broadcasting, radar, and satellite-based services, which are critical to the U.S. economy and national security. Historically, concern about interference among users has been a driving force in the management of spectrum. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)--an independent agency that regulates spectrum use for nonfederal users, including commercial users--and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)--an agency within the Department of Commerce that regulates spectrum for federal government users--have worked to minimize interference through the "allocation" and "assignment" of spectrum. Allocation involves designating "bands" of spectrum for specific types of services or classes of users, such as designating certain bands for commercial use and others for government use. Assignment provides an authorization or license to use a specific portion of spectrum to entities, such as wireless companies. Demand for the radiofrequency spectrum has exploded over the past several decades as new technologies and services have been and continue to be brought to the market in the private sector and new mission needs unfold among government users of spectrum, including wireless communications critical for public safety officials responding to natural and man-made disasters. As a result, nearly all parties are becoming increasingly concerned about the availability of spectrum for future needs, because most of the usable spectrum in the United States has already been allocated to existing services and users. Therefore, to promote a more efficient use of this resource and meet future needs, FCC has increasingly adopted more market-oriented approaches to spectrum management in recent years, including using a competitive bidding process, or auctions, to assign spectrum to commercial users. Prior to auctions, ...
Date: November 10, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department