What GAO Discovered
The Federal Communications Fee (FCC) and Nationwide Telecommunications and Data Administration (NTIA) regulate and handle spectrum, and different businesses, such because the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Nationwide Aeronautics and Area Administration (NASA) are amongst federal spectrum customers. To deal with potential interference amongst proposed makes use of of spectrum, these businesses make use of varied coordination mechanisms. For home issues, the businesses coordinate by means of an NTIA-led committee that gives enter to FCC’s spectrum proceedings. For U.S. participation within the Worldwide Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), businesses coordinate through a preparatory committee that gives enter used to develop U.S. positions that the Division of State submits to a regional physique or on to the WRC (see determine).
Technical Coordination Course of for U.S. Participation in WRC
These mechanisms mirror some key collaboration practices however don’t absolutely mirror others. For instance, whereas the paperwork that information coordination between FCC and NTIA and the preparatory committee emphasize reaching consensus at any time when doable, there aren’t any clearly outlined and agreed-upon processes for resolving issues when businesses can’t accomplish that. Moreover, neither doc has been up to date in virtually 20 years, although company officers stated circumstances concerning spectrum administration actions have modified in that point. GAO’s evaluation of U.S. participation in ITU’s 2019 WRC exhibits that these points affected collaboration. For instance, disputes among the many businesses and the lack to succeed in settlement on U.S. technical contributions challenged the U.S.’s means to current an agreed-upon foundation for choices or a unified place.
NOAA and NASA conduct and FCC and NTIA evaluation technical interference research on a case-by-case foundation. When originating from ITU actions, the businesses conduct or evaluation technical interference research by means of participation in worldwide technical conferences and the preparatory committee course of. Nonetheless, the dearth of consensus on research design and, throughout the U.S. course of, particular procedures to information the design of these kind of research, hampered U.S. efforts to arrange for the 2019 WRC. For instance, the U.S. didn’t submit its research on sure key points to the ultimate technical assembly, leading to some stakeholders questioning whether or not the corresponding U.S. positions have been technically rooted. Agreed-upon procedures might assist information U.S. efforts to design these research and contemplate tradeoffs between what’s fascinating versus sensible, to mitigate the potential for protracted disagreements sooner or later.
Why GAO Did This Research
This testimony summarizes the data contained in GAO’s June 2021 report, entitled Spectrum Administration: Companies Ought to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms and Processes to Tackle Potential Interference (GAO-21-474).