Spectrum-Sharing Portal Opens for AWS-3

Commerce launches interface to coordinate shared usage
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WASHINGTON—The federal agency managing the government’s use of the airwaves has created a spectrum-sharing portal. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said the online interface was a crucial step toward achieving the goal of coordinating spectrum-sharing among federal and commercial users.

“The new NTIA portal fulfills an important requirement to enable sharing in the 1695-1710 MHz portion of this prime spectrum.”

The portal comprises the 1695-1710 MHz band, currently used for weather satellite downlinks, weather balloons and other environmental sensors. The 15 MHz-wide swath was one of three bands recently auction off for Advanced Wireless Services.

NTIA said it expected many of the federal incumbents eventually to relocate, but moving wasn’t feasible for meteorological satellite Earth stations in the 1695-1710 MHz band. The Federal Communications Commission responded by requiring commercial auction winners to coordinate with federal incumbents before operating in geographic areas, or “coordination zones,” around these stations, which NTIA said would continue to operate indefinitely.

NTIA said federal incumbents, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Department of the Interior and National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, looked to NTIA ’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences to create an online spectrum coordination portal for sharing in the 1695-1710 MHz band. NTIA said a team of 10 ITS developers, documentation experts and quality assurance personnel worked for five months to develop the portal.

The platform, NTIA said, was designed to be ,“cost-efficient, modular and scalable, combining commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software into an advanced Web-based architecture.

“Hosted by NTIA, the final product is a customized Web-based database storage software solution that manages the flow of information between commercial wireless operators deploying broadband wireless networks and federal agencies who have meteorological satellite Earth station operations in the identified coordination zones.”

The portal is intended to allow incumbent licensees and commercial users to exchange information and communicate about engineering issues. It will be available seven days a week, 24 hours a day at https://rfcp.ntia.doc.gov.

“The launch of this streamlined method for the coordination of spectrum sharing between federal and non-federal users represents a significant advance towards facilitating expanded commercial use of the spectrum while ensuring federal agencies continue to have access to the airwaves they need to perform critical functions for the American people.”