Electronic Design

White House Initiates Spectrum-Management Study

The electromagnetic frequency spectrum is like all other natural resources—there's only so much of it. That's all the more reason to use what we have efficiently and cleverly. The management of spectrum falls to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for commercial, industrial, and personal applications and to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) for government applications.

Anyone working in the wireless field knows of the constant battles for more spectrum space. Recognizing the importance of spectrum to the future of U.S. growth and leadership, President Bush issued an Executive Memorandum on June 5 to create the Spectrum Policy Initiative. It will study the spectrum-problem issues and develop policy to improve spectrum assignment and usage. Over the past several decades, there's been a deluge of developments and adoption of technologies within the wireless world. Clearly a spectrum shortage exists, and it will only worsen unless new policies and procedures are developed and enforced.

The initiative targets several basic goals. First, it aims to promote the development and implementation of a spectrum policy that will foster economic and job growth. Other goals seek to ensure our national and homeland security and maintain global leadership in communications technology and services. Finally, the initiative focuses on needs in public safety, scientific research, transportation, and law enforcement.

The initiative will set up a Federal Spectrum Task Force chaired by the Department of Commerce (DOC) to produce a set of recommendations for improving spectrum management. The DOC will hold a series of public meetings to assist in the development of the recommendations. Within one year, the Secretary of Commerce will provide the president with recommendations to improve spectrum management, increase the efficiency of spectrum usage, and address critical needs.

"The radio spectrum is a key driver of economic growth and supports an array of devices, applications, and services Americans have come to depend on," says FCC chair Michael Powell.

For details, go to www.fcc.gov and www.doc.ntia.gov.

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