Federal Communications Commission

Office Of Engineering And Technology Category

Spectrum Task Force Update

September 9th, 2010 by Julius Knapp - Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology

In creating a strategy for the utilization and allocation of spectrum in Chapter 5 of the National Broadband Plan, we laid out our initial strategic spectrum plan.  We have since moved forward with the important work of the Spectrum Task Force.  As Chairman Genachowski previously announced earlier this year, the Spectrum Task Force has been launched to execute the spectrum recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, including long term spectrum planning.  Armed with our directives to advance the Commission’s spectrum agenda, as well as to promote collaboration across the agency, the work of the Spectrum Task Force is now well underway, with participation from the Chiefs and expert staff of the Bureaus and Offices, including Enforcement, International, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Media, and Strategic Planning and Policy.

As Chairman Genachowski emphasized, given that spectrum is one of our country’s most important assets, we will need to pursue policies to promote greater spectrum efficiency and flexibility, in addition to ensuring sufficient spectrum for broadband.  In order to achieve these goals, we are working closely with our colleagues at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  In particular, we are supporting NTIA’s efforts to identify spectrum that might be made available on a fast track basis and to develop a longer term plan to make spectrum available for wireless broadband over the next 10 years.

The National Broadband Plan called for the FCC to maintain an ongoing strategic spectrum plan including a triennial assessment of spectrum allocations.  The National Broadband Plan was effectively the first strategic plan and the first triennial assessment will be conducted in three years.  We are laying the foundation for this project through our work on the spectrum dashboard, which will provide greater transparency concerning spectrum allocation and utilization.  In conjunction with NTIA, we have also begun work to develop accurate spectrum measurement and monitoring methods.

The Commission is continuing to make great progress towards achieving the goal of making available an additional 300 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband by 2015, and 500 MHz by 2020.  At the May agenda meeting, the Commission adopted an order on WCS-SDARS, making 25 MHz of spectrum available for mobile broadband services.  At the July agenda meeting, the Commission proposed to provide additional flexibility in the rules for the Mobile Satellite Service to account for another 90 MHz of spectrum that could be used for terrestrial wireless broadband service.

Work is also continuing on other spectrum-related recommendations in the National Broadband Plan.  For example, in late June we held an engineering workshop on innovation in the TV bands.   We are also reviewing the recommendation that the Commission create new opportunities for innovative spectrum access models, including opportunistic use.

In the coming weeks, we will share updates regarding the Spectrum Task Force’s progress in implementing the National Broadband Plan’s spectrum agenda.  Please continue to follow Spectrum Task Force blog posts for new information.

Looking Under the Hood: Technical Paper on Options for Broadcast Spectrum

June 14th, 2010 by Julius Knapp - Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology

The National Broadband Plan stresses that mobile broadband networks, devices, and applications are a critical component of our country’s broadband infrastructure and our economy. It recommends that the FCC repurpose spectrum from several bands to make it available for flexible use, including mobile broadband use. This recommendation includes repurposing 120 megahertz from the broadcast television bands. These bands are attractive due to strong propagation characteristics and relatively low average market value under their current uses compared to recently auctioned flexible use spectrum with similar characteristics.

Today we are releasing an Omnibus Broadband Team Technical Paper called Spectrum Analysis: Options for Broadcast Spectrum that provides further details on the technical analyses that support the recommendations in the National Broadband Plan relative to repurposing the TV broadcast spectrum.  We cannot emphasize strongly enough two critical points that are the cornerstones of the paper.  First, any contributions of spectrum by TV broadcasters to an incentive auction will be voluntary.  Second, consumers will continue to have access to free over-the-air TV broadcasting service and every effort will be made to minimize any losses of service due to repacking of the TV broadcast band.  

This paper presents several new analyses and methodologies that are worth pointing out:

•    The paper offers more detail on how an incentive auction might work. 

•    It presents the first, in-depth analysis and publication by the FCC of actual bandwidth requirements of various video streams.  The analysis provides data to support the assertion that two television stations could voluntarily share a single six-megahertz channel and continue to broadcast their primary video streams in HD.

•    It provides an initial look at a new TV allotment optimization model being developed by the FCC. This model will help to maximize the efficiency and collective benefits of broadcast TV and broadband services in the band.  For example, it will allow the FCC to optimize channel assignments to achieve various objectives within given constraints, such as minimizing disruption to over-the-air television viewers.

This paper represents the start of the process – not the conclusion.   It offers provocative ideas that deserve to be fully vetted and considered.  That is why Chairman Genachowski asked the Commission staff to hold the Broadcast Engineering Forum.  We look forward to a constructive and robust dialogue with TV broadcasters and other interested parties. 

It is entirely possible, and perhaps even likely, that the best ideas on how to repurpose TV broadcast spectrum are yet to be developed or put forward.   We invite readers to comment on the technical paper through this blog and to participate in forthcoming rulemaking proceedings, offering comments and alternatives that can help lead to the best policy decisions for our country. 

Click here to download a pdf of the Spectrum Analysis: Options for Broadcast Spectrum.

Capture The Phone Numbers Using Your Camera Phone

If you have a camera and a 2D matrix code reader on your mobile phone, you can capture the FCC Phone numbers right to your phone by following these three easy steps:
Step 1: Take a photograph of one of the codes below using the camera on your mobile phone.
Step 2: Use your phone's Datamatrix or QR Code reader to decode the information on the photograph. Please note, these code readers are device specific and are available to download on the internet.
Step 3: Store the decoded address information to your phone's address book and use it with your Maps or GPS application.

Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones