Unofficial Notes: 2024 NTIA Spectrum Policy Symposium (February 1, 2024)

National Spectrum Strategy

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

NTIA’s sixth annual Spectrum Policy Symposium (the “Symposium”) took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2024. The Symposium focused on implementing the National Spectrum Strategy (“NSS”), which the White House released on Nov. 13, 2023, along with a presidential memorandum on “Modernizing United States Spectrum Policy and Establishing a National Spectrum Strategy.”

The event included keynote speeches by key policy-makers from the White House, the Department of Commerce, and the Federal Communications Commission. Keynote speeches and panel discussions focused on the implementation of the four "pillars" of the National Spectrum Strategy, how they can be implemented by the Administration, and the National Spectrum Strategy’s impact on spectrum management coordination and national spectrum policies.

The main takeaway is that, although the National Spectrum Strategy identified over 2700 MHz of spectrum for potential mobile broadband, it is going to be a challenging road to actually making most of that spectrum available. Most of the spectrum needs to be offered via dynamic spectrum sharing (“DSS”) with incumbent government users, particularly the Department of Defense (the “DoD”).

The challenges of negotiating DSS for mobile broadband use with the DoD include there being:  1) No agreed upon working definition of harmful interference vs. benign interference; 2) No clear metrics to consider, or process to follow when evaluating the use of a particular band; 3) No clear decision-making process or decision-making hierarchy; 4) Limited ability for the DoD to share data about their equipment and usage due to security concerns.