[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 32 (Tuesday, February 18, 2014)]
[Pages 9288-9290]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03413]



Spectrum Policy

ACTION: Notice of Request for Information.


SUMMARY: On June 14, 2013, the President issued a Memorandum to the 
heads of executive departments and agencies on the subject of spectrum 
policy (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/14/presidential-memorandum-expanding-americas-leadership-wireless-innovatio). The Memorandum directs the White House Spectrum Policy Team 
to make recommendations regarding market-based or other approaches that 
could give departments and agencies greater incentive to share or 

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spectrum, while protecting the mission capabilities of existing and 
future systems that rely on spectrum use. This notice solicits public 
input to inform the development of those recommendations.

DATES: Responses must be received by March 20, 2014 to be considered.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: publicaccess@ostp.gov, include [Agency Incentives--
Spectrum] in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: (202) 456-6040, Attn: Tom Power.
     Mail: Attn: Tom Power, Office of Science and Technology 
Policy, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, 1650 Pennsylvania Ave. 
NW., Washington, DC 20504.
    Instructions: Response to this RFI is voluntary. Respondents need 
not reply to all questions listed; however, they should clearly 
indicate the question(s) to which they are responding. Responses to 
this RFI, including the names of the authors and their institutional 
affiliations, if provided, may be posted online. OSTP therefore 
requests that no business proprietary information, copyrighted 
information, or personally identifiable information be submitted in 
response to this RFI. Please note that the U.S. Government will not pay 
for response preparation, or for the use of any information contained 
in the response.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Tom Power, (202) 456-4444, Thomas_C_Power@ostp.eop.gov, OSTP.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In his June 14, 2013, Memorandum on spectrum 
policy, ``Expanding America's Leadership in Wireless Innovation,'' the 
President stated that in order to continue the cycle of wireless 
innovation, productivity, and job creation, ``[w]e must continue to 
make additional spectrum available as promptly as possible for the 
benefit of consumers and businesses.'' The President also said that, 
''[a]t the same time, we must ensure that Federal, State, local, 
tribal, and territorial governments are able to maintain mission 
critical capabilities that depend on spectrum today, as well as 
effectively and efficiently meet future requirements.''
    To help implement these goals, the Memorandum established a 
Spectrum Policy Team. Among its responsibilities, the Spectrum Policy 
Team shall make recommendations to the President ``regarding market-
based or other approaches that could give agencies greater incentive to 
share or relinquish spectrum, while protecting the mission capabilities 
of existing and future systems that rely on spectrum use.'' The 
Memorandum directed the Spectrum Policy Team to consider certain 
proposals made by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and 
Technology in its July 2012 report, ``Realizing the Full Potential of 
Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth'' (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast_spectrum_report_final_july_20_2012.pdf). The Memorandum further 
directed the Spectrum Policy Team to analyze the impact of the 
Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act of 2004 (Title II of Pub. L. 108-
494), as modified by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act 
of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-96).
    The Spectrum Policy Team tasked a federally funded research and 
development center, the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), 
to review publicly available analyses and proposals regarding 
incentives for agencies to share or relinquish spectrum. STPI has 
prepared a report, available at https://www.ida.org/upload/stpi/pdfs/p5102final.pdf, that identifies and characterizes various approaches to 
providing incentives to Federal agencies to increase spectrum 
efficiency through relocation, improved technologies, and spectrum 
sharing. This notice invites comment on that report and on other 
approaches to providing agency incentives.
    The STPI report identifies nine major approaches to providing 
incentives to Federal agencies to share or relinquish spectrum, 
representing a variety of paths to satisfying the increasing demands 
for spectrum capacity from both government and commercial users. These 
approaches are grouped into four types of mechanisms that could be 
considered, separately or in some combination:
    (1) Spectrum user fees, payable by agencies based on some valuation 
of their spectrum assignments.
    (2) A spectrum fund that agencies could draw from to plan and 
execute spectrum relocation and sharing strategies.
    (3) Spectrum property rights, where spectrum assignments to 
agencies could include the authority to further assign or share those 
rights with wireless carriers and other third parties in return for 
compensation paid directly to the agency.
    (4) Command-and-control, where a central authority such as the 
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) or 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would be given greater 
authority over relocation and sharing decisions.
    In addition to addressing these mechanisms, commenters are 
requested to identify other incentive-based measures that could promote 
spectrum sharing or relinquishment. Commenters should address the 
merits of each mechanism, including implementation challenges and the 
relative advantages and disadvantages, assuming any implementation 
challenges were overcome.

Questions To Inform Development of Spectrum Policy

    Without limiting the foregoing, commenters should consider the 
    (A) With respect to spectrum user fees, what are the lessons 
learned from the United Kingdom's experience as well as any comparable 
efforts in other countries? To the extent that Federal agencies seek 
spectrum assignments based on mission-based needs, how would the 
imposition of user fees affect agency demand for spectrum? How would a 
system of spectrum user fees operate in the context of the traditional 
Federal appropriations process?
    (B) With respect to a spectrum fund, what are alternative means to 
fund agency planning, research, and development? If the funding is to 
come from subsequent auctions of the spectrum band in question, how 
would agencies assess the potential risk of not being reimbursed for 
planning costs given that the plans may not be approved or implemented 
as expected? Likewise, how would such a fund be financially supported 
and used to promote relinquishment or sharing of bands that could be 
put to innovative and productive commercial uses without auctioning 
(e.g. unlicensed uses)? What are ways that a spectrum fund can provide 
a true incentive to agencies, and not simply reimburse them for costs 
incurred? Likewise, what is the best way to ensure that disbursements 
to an agency from a spectrum fund are not simply offset by a 
corresponding deduction from the agency's budget for the following 
fiscal year, thus negating the incentive?
    (C) With respect to spectrum property rights, how would the 
introduction of such an approach affect mission capabilities? To the 
extent that a property right approach provides an incentive to share or 
relinquish spectrum already acquired, what corresponding conditions, if 
any, should be imposed on the acquisition of spectrum rights by one or 
more agencies? What are the practical or legal limitations that would 
affect the likely benefits of this approach related to spectrum 
efficiency, operational

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flexibility, or financial incentives? What are the potential unintended 
consequences (e.g., hoarding) of granting such rights and how could 
they be curtailed without impeding an agency's flexibility?
    (D) With respect to a command-and-control approach, how would 
efficiency gains be measured and what additional resources, if any, 
would be required? What kind of additional authority and resources 
would NTIA or OMB need to effectively implement this approach?
    (E) With respect to any approach, what are the means to ensure 
effective coordination among agencies, such that their collective 
efforts are brought to bear most productively, especially in the 
specific bands valued by the private sector? What approaches are most 
conducive to or dependent on spectrum sharing? What technological and 
logistical challenges need to be overcome and how significant are those 
    (F) H.R. 3674, legislation currently pending in the House of 
Representatives (http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-bill/3674), 
would expand the allowable usage of auction proceeds shared with 
agencies who voluntarily relinquish spectrum to include appropriations 
accounts reduced by sequestration, up to the level of reduction induced 
by sequestration. OSTP welcomes comments on the approach proposed in 
this legislation and any modifications that could improve its efficacy.

Ted Wackler,
Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant Director.
[FR Doc. 2014-03413 Filed 2-14-14; 8:45 am]