FCC and NTIA sign new memorandum of understanding on spectrum coordination

February 20, 2003

The FCC and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) executed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on spectrum coordination.

The new MOU, signed by FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy J. Victory, will apply to coordination of spectrum issues involving both federal and non-federal users. Chairman Powell stated that much had changed in the sixty plus years since the original MOU was adopted. The FCC and NTIA have been operating under an MOU dating back to October 1940.

The new agreement establishes procedures relating to frequency coordination, as well as spectrum planning provisions contained in the Communications Act. This MOU establishes a framework for compliance with the statutory requirements and stipulates that the Chairman of the FCC and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information shall meet biannually to conduct joint spectrum planning. The MOU is considered consistent with a recent General Accounting Office report that focused on the need for greater cooperation between the two spectrum policy organizations.

The Communications Act assigns joint jurisdiction for spectrum management to the FCC and the NTIA at the Department of Commerce. The FCC is responsible for non-federal users, (e.g. broadcast, commercial, public safety, and state and local government users, etc.) and the NTIA is responsible for federal users. The majority of spectrum is shared between federal and non-federal users, in which case the FCC and the NTIA must coordinate spectrum policy.

For more information visit www.fcc.gov.

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