Friday, July 20, 2012

PCAST Report endorses receiver interference limits

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its report Realizing the Full Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth today (PDF, Administration’s blog post, webcast).

The main thrust of the report is the need for a shift from clearing and reallocating federal spectrum to dynamic sharing. As part of implementation, the report recommends that interference limits are used to include receiver considerations in spectrum management. (I was an advisor to the PCAST committee that wrote this report.)

Recommendation 3.1: The Secretary of Commerce working through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), should establish methodologies for spectrum management that consider both transmitter and receiver characteristics to enable flexible sharing of spectrum. To safeguard primary Federal users, FCC should require that future non-Federal devices will be permitted to share government spectrum as Secondary Access users only if they are certified to operate within the stated interference limits for the band of interest. Initial specification of protection should be reviewed such that they safeguard new FCC assignments against harmful interference while grandfathering in existing devices and operations.
The report recommends that “[i]n order to facilitate more intensive and efficient sharing among Federal users, the NTIA should set and publish receiver interference limits using a transparent process for government assignments” It also recommends that “in the immediate timeframe, the FCC should begin the Notice and Comment cycle on implementing receiver interference limits as part of license terms for new allocations, updating old licenses to include receiver interference limits, and ex ante enforcement mechanism for non-Federal devices sharing with Federal users.” (Section 7.3, p. 77-78)

A detailed discussion of interference limits is given in Appendix D (p. 107 ff.).

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