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Spectrum Dashboard – Q&A

Posted March 24th, 2010 by James Brown - Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

Last week, the FCC released the Spectrum Dashboard in beta.  The Spectrum Dashboard is truly an exciting new tool that allows the public to search, map, and download licensing data with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Currently, the search, map, and download features are available for licenses within 225 MHz – 3700 MHz in the following services:

  • 700 MHz
  • 800 MHz Cellular
  • Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)
  • Broadband Personal Communications Service (PCS)
  • Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS)
  • 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service (WCS)
  • Full Power TV Broadcast
  • Mobile Satellite Services (MSS)

 
Over the years, we have received similar questions from lots of different groups about who holds licenses for certain types of spectrum and where the licenses are held.  The reasons for these questions ranged from an individual trying to locate a mobile phone provider in a specific area, to a company trying to acquire spectrum, to a firm trying to analyze parts of the telecommunications industry.

In the past, we were not able to point anyone to a single place at the FCC where this information could easily be found or understood.  It’s wonderful to finally be able to point someone to the “Spectrum Dashboard.”  Below, I will show how five fairly common questions can be answered by using the Spectrum Dashboard.

Questions that can be answered by using the Spectrum Dashboard

1) Can I see a list of all the licenses held by a company even though the company holds licenses under 100 different legal names?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard associates licenses held under various names to a single “Common Name.”  The Common Name is available for most licenses, including the largest spectrum holders.  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Tags or Radio Service, view individual licenses, and create maps.

 



2) Can I see a thematic (heat map) that shows how much spectrum a company holds throughout the country?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard provides a county-by-county total of how much spectrum is held by a company based on the “Common Name.”  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Tags or Radio Service, view individual licenses, and create maps.
 


3) Can I see a thematic (heat map) that shows how much spectrum is licensed for a service throughout the country?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard provides a county-by-county total of how much spectrum is licensed for a specific service (e.g., 700 MHz or Broadband PCS).  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Common Name or Tags, view individual licenses, and create maps.



4) Can I see a thematic (heat) map that shows how much spectrum is licensed in one or more counties within a state?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard shows how much spectrum is licensed in one or more counties.  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Common Name, Tags or Radio Service, view individual licenses, and create maps.
 


5) Can I download the data used to answer questions 1 – 4?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard includes a link to download data in a spreadsheet format that includes a list of spectrum held on a county-by-county basis per license. 
 

 

These are just five of the questions that the Spectrum Dashboard can answer.  As you explore the Spectrum Dashboard, we hope to hear from you.

After the Commission collects and analyzes user feedback and information on how the Spectrum Dashboard is being used, the staff will announce a workshop to inform the public about the feedback received to date, listen to public views on desired upgrades, and discuss ways to expand and improve the information and analyses contained in the Spectrum Dashboard.  For example, future enhancements to the software could potentially involve an increase in the types of data that can be searched, advanced mapping capabilities, advanced data export capabilities, integration with other Federal information sources, better analysis tools, and changes to the interface.

Posted in Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Spectrum Dashboard
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Welcome to the Spectrum Dashboard

Posted March 18th, 2010 by Mary Bucher

Welcome to the FCC’s beta release of the Spectrum Dashboard.  The new Spectrum Dashboard’s versatility lets you review how spectrum bands are allocated and used and also lets you identify license holders in specific areas.  The initial version we release today provides plain language information of mobile broadband service frequencies between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz.  In addition, the Spectrum Dashboard contains enhanced search, mapping and data download capabilities for licenses in those broadband service bands.  These enhanced research functions are currently available for licenses in 700 MHz, 800 MHz Cellular, Advanced Wireless Service, Broadband Personal Communications Service, 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service, Broadband Radio Service, Educational Broadband Service, Full Power TV Broadcast, and Mobile Satellite Service.

The primary source of information on frequency usage or spectrum allocation is Part 2 of the FCC rules.  These rules often contain technical language and terms of art that may be difficult for the general public to understand.  In contrast, the Spectrum Dashboard highlights important information from those rules using plain language to help the public understand many aspects of band use.

We want the Spectrum Dashboard to be a “one-stop shopping” portal for licensing information by combining the information currently available on separate electronic databases and filing systems.  The Spectrum Dashboard repackages some of our existing data in order to make it easier to search and find allowing you to generate maps and export data more easily.  Some of the ways this searching capability is now more user friendly include the following:

  • You can search by a “Common Name” and get a list of all licenses held by a single company, even if the company holds licenses under many different names.
  • You can get a map of all the spectrum a company holds throughout the United States or in a single county, a first-of-its-kind resource at the Commission.
  • You can download the results of your searches in an easy-to-use spreadsheet format.


We are making every effort to ensure that the Spectrum Dashboard is as accurate as possible.  Our plan is to update the database once a month (except for the full service television broadcast station coverage maps which are based on maps that were generated for the June 2009 DTV transition).  If you would like to find out more about how we compiled the data for the Spectrum Dashboard, please take a look at the Spectrum Dashboard Details section of our on-line Help page.  We also encourage licensees and other users to contact us through our eSupport link or hotline at 1-877-480-3201 or TTY 1-717-338-2824 with any questions you may have about the data in this tool. 

We see the beta version of the Spectrum Dashboard as a step toward increased transparency into how spectrum is used in the United States.  We need your input to help us continue developing and refining the Spectrum Dashboard.  We are interested in hearing how you are using the Spectrum Dashboard and how we can improve this tool to make it more useful.  Please visit our discussion links to tell us about yourself and the kinds of information you are trying to find in the Spectrum Dashboard.  Let us know what functions and features in the Spectrum Dashboard you find most useful as well as what other features or functional tools you would like to see in future versions of the Spectrum Dashboard.  We invite you to join the discussion and look forward to hearing from you. 
 

Posted in Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Spectrum Dashboard
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Highlighting the staff of the FCC...

Posted January 18th, 2010 by Ruth Milkman - Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

There are any number of talented, dedicated staff at the FCC and Mae is one of them.  Mae Hall is a member of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and has been at the Commission since June 21, 1971.  She started working at the Commission the Monday after she graduated high school and has loved every minute of it.  She spent her first 25 years in the Media Bureau.  She started as a secretary in the Hearing Division, then moved on to become a Communications Analyst in the Television Branch, and later worked as a Telecommunication Analyst in the Low Power Television Branch.  In 1996, she became a part of WTB as a paralegal in the Auctions and Industry Analysis Division; currently she is a Management / Program Analyst in what is now the Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, working primarily with default payment issues and performing paralegal duties for the Auctions Legal and Policy team.

Over the years, Mae has volunteered for many activiites.  She has consistently worked with the Combined Federal Campaign and was one of many who volunteered for the DTV Transition outreach effort.  For DTV she worked primarily in the Southwest Region conducting outreach activities for consumers and assisting local broadcasters with outreach efforts to ensure all were DTV ready.  She worked in both urban as well as rural areas of Texas.  Her most memorable day was the day she spent at a Senior Citizens Center in Amarillo, TX.  She initially showed up to drop off coupon applications but instead stayed the entire day assisting seniors with converter box hookups and demonstrations and spending time with them.  Mae left only after every question had been answered and she'd heard every "life story."  She found it very rewarding and fulfilling.

Mae is from Washington, DC. and has lived in this area her whole life.  She currently lives in Bowie, MD with her husband of 30 years, Everrett Hall.  Together they have two daughters and two grandchildren.  She loves attending sporting events, and is very active in her church and loves to cook.  Mae says that she enjoys sports.  She and her husband have season tickets for Georgetown University's basketball, the Washington Nationals, and the Washington Redskins.  She played on the Mass Media Bureau's softball team, in the Communications Softball League, for around seven years.  Mae says her claim to fame is that she has played basketball with both Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning.

Mae says she has stayed at the FCC for so long because of the great people she's worked with, and because she really enjoys the work.  For her, the people with whom she's worked have provided a "home-like" atmosphere.  Mae has so many friends at the Commission who she says will always be a part of her life.  She sums up her time at the Commission by saying "I LOVE this job!"

Posted in FCC Staff Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
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