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Spectrum management

Spectrum management

Spectrum management is the process of managing how the radio spectrum is used to minimize interference and ensure the finite resource is used efficiently, providing the maximum benefit for the public.

Overview

Spectrum management is the process of managing how the radio spectrum is used to minimize interference and ensure it is used efficiently, providing the maximum benefit for the public. Radio spectrum is a finite resource with a large number of potential uses:

  • Public and private correspondence
  • News, information, and entertainment services
  • Financial transactions
  • Technology development and pure research
  • Navigation services
  • Remote monitoring of plant and industrial processes
US regulations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the emission of private radio signals in the United States. Most electronic devices are required to be tested by law to ensure compliance with FCC regulations. Even after following these regulations, electronic devices can still interfere with one another. While for many use cases this is an inconvenience, the radio spectrum is used by critical services such as fire, rescue, law enforcement, and emergency medical services (EMS).

The federal government's use of the radio spectrum is managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) within the Department of Commerce. NTIA ensures that America's domestic and international spectrum needs are met efficiently. With assistance and advice from the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee, NTIA performs a number of roles:

  • Establishing and issuing policies on the allocation and regulation governing the federal spectrum use
  • Developing plans for both peacetime and wartime use of the spectrum
  • Preparing for, participating in, and implementing the results of international radio conferences
  • Assigning frequencies
  • Maintaining spectrum use databases
  • Reviewing Federal agencies' new telecommunications systems and certifying that spectrum will be available
  • Providing the technical engineering expertise needed to perform specific spectrum resources assessments and automated computer capabilities needed to carry out these investigations
  • Participating in all aspects of the Federal government's communications-related emergency readiness activities
  • Participating in Federal government telecommunications and automated information systems security activities

Timeline

Further Resources

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References

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