Weeks after the Department of Defense (DoD) announced additional mid-band spectrum would be available for industry use, the department is circling back to industry requesting more information on spectrum sharing.
In a request for information (RFI) released on Sept. 18, DoD asked over a dozen questions of industry relating to spectrum, its shared use, and 5G.
“We hope our industry partners will come forward with innovative ideas to address the questions in this RFI,” said DoD CIO Dana Deasy, in a release. “DoD’s partnership with industry is imperative in this extremely technical and competitive field. What we learn in this effort has potential to benefit the entire nation and keep the U.S. as the global leader of 5G technology for many years to come.”
Days after the department’s RFI, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee weighed in on the department’s steps with spectrum.
“I am pleased to see that the Department is willing to explore ways to share the valuable mid-band spectrum that is so critical for our economy, our security, and our nation’s future,” said Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry, R-Texas, in a release. “I am concerned, however, that DoD is still not moving at the appropriate speed given the on-going efforts by China and others. We must move out faster.”
Deasy announced in August that the America’s Mid-Band Initiative Team (AMBIT) was established after a meeting between the White House and DoD in mid-April. The team, Deasy said, which includes oversight from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and members from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council, worked on a 15-week schedule to reach the agreement that is making the 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum available.
U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios said a Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-run auction for the spectrum is scheduled for December 2021, which would pave the way for winning bidders to use the spectrum commercially by as soon as mid-2022. The nation’s Federal spectrum manager, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), called on the FCC to take additional steps and issue a further notice of proposed rulemaking in the announced shared band earlier this month.
The RFI asks for information on how spectrum can be shared in a greater portion of the band. The request also asks how spectrum modernization, including spectrum IT modernization and automation, can help facilitate faster spectrum sharing. The latter request is the subject of a pending bill.
Senators questioned the Federal government’s spectrum management process at a hearing earlier this year.