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Government Parties Seek Collaboration with Industry on Research and Development (R&D) to Advance Better Use of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

If you got bored reading the Federal Register and surfed over to FedBizOpps.gov for excitement, you might have noticed on March 12 an announcement with the above title. It starts,

“The Department of Defense (DOD), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), is releasing this special notice to inform interested parties about an interest to establish a Section 845 Other Transaction (OTA) agreement with an eligible entity or group of entities to develop and mature technologies to enable advanced approaches to electromagnetic spectrum use.”

The announcement goes on to say

The envisioned collaboration between the Government and Industry focuses on four major activities:
- maturing technologies that assist in improved electromagnetic spectrum awareness, sharing, and use
- experimentation to better inform the optimal allocation of those technologies for both public and private objectives
- demonstration of new technologies to increase trust among spectrum stakeholders
- policy development to ensure technologies don't outpace the appropriate guidance for their best use

It is anticipated that industry members may propose forming a consortium that would seek to work with the Government, through an OTA agreement in this area. DOD, NTIA, and NSF recognize that both Government and industry can benefit from an OTA agreement with a consortium, in order to achieve more rapid contracting, acceleration of discovery, unparalleled ability to tailor research, policy consideration concurrent with technological advances, a more focused and synergistic research agenda, and relief from excessive bureaucratic requirements.

It goes on to talk about Industry/academia having an opportunity for dialog with the Government sponsors. A reception will be held March 31, 2014, 1800 hrs - 2000 hrs, in the Atrium of the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Interested private entities should contact Mr. Vanu Bose, at vanu@vanu.com.

A key question is how this fits with DoD’s recently released “Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy (EMS)” . That document appears to focus on DoD access to the idle spectrum of other parties, but never states whether DoD is open to use of its spectrum in places and at times when it is unused. NTIA’s Larry Strickling has said, “sharing is the new normal”. Does that apply here?

As we have pointed out previously, DoD has been particularly shy about even measuring the occupancy of 225-400 MHz in major urban areas although measurements by private parties consistently show the occupancy is low in such areas. Is DoD now open to discuss such s possibility?

Private sector participation might be greater if NTIA and DoD could clarify this issue.
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