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Introductory Remarks
Innovative Spectrum Sharing Technology Day
Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
Nov. 5, 2013
Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director


Welcome and Thank You

  • I'm glad to be able to welcome you all to the Department of Commerce.
  • Today we have the opportunity to hear about some of the federal efforts in the area of wireless innovation. More importantly, we get to see firsthand some of the great examples of the innovative work going on in industry that is going to help our nation meet its surging demand for wireless services and applications.
  • Before I get too far, let me first thank all of the exhibitors that will be out in the lobby this afternoon for taking the time to come to Washington and showcase the exciting work that you are doing.
  • I'd also like to thank the staff at NTIA and NIST who helped pull this event together, keeping it on schedule despite the shutdown.
  • And let me especially thank Wendy Wigen with the Coordination Office of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program, who, without all her invaluable assistance, we wouldn't be here.

Importance of Spectrum Sharing

  • Today much of what we do as Americans, whether its business or entertainment, is done wirelessly.
  • Americans use more and more wireless bandwidth and wireless devices for work, social networking, entertainment, and other activities.
    • Annual investment in U.S. wireless networks grew more than 40% between 2009 and 2012, from $21 billion to $30 billion.
    • Global mobile data volumes are more than doubling every year for the past 4 years, resulting in a growing demand for access to more wireless spectrum.
  • Spectrum is a finite resource, so to meet this skyrocketing demand we must look for ways of using spectrum that is already occupied more efficiently. Much of the spectrum that we are talking about opening up for commercial use is that which is currently owned and used by the federal government and managed by the Department of Commerce through NTIA.
    • U.S. federal spectrum needs include: maritime mobile satellite and radio navigation, space and satellite communications, missile detection and surveillance radar, law enforcement communication, and wildfire tracking just to name a few.
  • The President is committed to making sure that American businesses and workers have the infrastructure necessary for them to compete globally and that includes enhanced access to spectrum. 
  • To accomplish this, the President has made it a priority to make more federal spectrum available but it must be done in a way that ensures that mission critical capabilities that depend on spectrum today are maintained and that agencies are able to efficiently and effectively meet future requirements.
  • As my friend and colleague, Larry Strickling, has been preaching, we know that the old process of forcing federal users to relinquish and relocate operations out of key spectrum bands is no longer viable. That's because we can no longer easily identify viable alternative bands to which to move federal agency operations without incurring substantial costs and imposing significant operational limitations and delays.
  • It is increasingly clear that our focus must shift now to promoting more spectrum sharing in federal and nonfederal bands, and some of the technologies that we will see on display today are going to help us meet this challenge.

DOC Role

  • The Department of Commerce has a critical and central role to play in addressing spectrum sharing challenges.
  • The President has specifically called on Commerce, through both NTIA and NIST, to address these challenges by promoting efficiency and innovation.
  • NTIA, which has the responsibility for managing the federal government's use of spectrum, has the bulk of the responsibility for the department and is working on a number of efforts in this space. These efforts include a collaboration with the FCC to make available 500 megahertz of spectrum for mobile and fixed wireless broadband use by 2020.
  • Larry Strickling is responsible for these efforts, and in just a couple of minutes he will give us all an update on the 500 megahertz goal as well as some new initiatives.

NIST and Innovation in Advanced Communications

  • But before I turn the stage over to Larry, I want to put on my NIST hat and give you a brief overview of the role NIST is playing in this space.
  • As you all know, being able to more efficiently use and share spectrum is going to require significant innovation and technology development.
  • A critical key to success in the development of new technologies and their successful adoption is a supporting framework of testing, evaluation, measurements and standards. 
  • NIST is poised to play a unique role in this technology space because a core element of NIST's mission is to promote technological innovation through the development and delivery of measurement science and standards to our customers and stakeholders in industry and government.
  • The President has called upon NIST and NTIA, in collaboration with other federal agencies, to develop standards, policies, and best practices governing research, development, testing, and evaluation of spectrum sharing technologies.
  • To accomplish this, NIST and NTIA announced in June our intent to create a new Center for Advanced Communications headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, which you will hear more about in the upcoming panel discussion.
  • But briefly, this center will take advantage of the critical mass of research and engineering capabilities of both NIST and NTIA that are concentrated in Boulder. It will become a unique national asset that provides the infrastructure necessary for effective engagement and collaboration with industry, academic and government partners necessary to effectively and efficiently address current and future advanced communications challenges such as spectrum sharing.
  • Scientists and engineers at the center will engage with industry and other government agencies to tackle a broad "spectrum" of research and testing challenges through the provision of
    • multiuser test beds that allow government and industry researchers to realistically measure and evaluate the performance of new advanced communications technologies;
    • targeted interdisciplinary research, development and testing projects in fields such as digital information processing, interoperability and quantum communications; and
    • outreach to international standards development organizations to help ensure compatibility of U.S. advanced communications efforts with the global marketplace.
  • I am very excited about this partnership and I know it will provide an important focal point for industry, academia, and government to come together to help solve one of our most pressing technology challenges.
  • Again thank you all for your participation in today's event.  I look forward to learning more about some of the innovative new technology solutions being developed, and making the connections that will help us work more closely together in the future.