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Over the past year, spectrum access has been a hot topic due in large part to the International Telecommunications Union’s World Radio Conference 2012 (WRC-12) and LightSquared’s proposed low-cost 4G cellular network. As aerospace was the only industry without significant representation in policy discussions on spectrum, AIA has been proactive by forming a joint Civil Aviation/Space Spectrum Working Group to address industry concerns on behalf of all AIA members.
This new working group (WG) is chaired by Jennifer Warren of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Since November, the group has met monthly, engaging industry organizations and federal agencies on this topic. At the January meeting, Assistant Administrator Karl Nebbia, who runs the Office of Spectrum Management at the National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA), briefed the WG on NTIA’s current policy efforts.
At present, the Spectrum Working Group is focused on WRC-12, which is currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland. Cortney Robinson, AIA’s director of civil aviation infrastructure, is a member of the U.S. Delegation to the WRC and is attending this important conference at the State Department’s request. AIA is primarily focused on communications links for unmanned aircraft. Robinson will be attending to help support the AIA-endorsed U.S. position on UAS spectrum use for “beyond line of sight” international operations.
In addition to these international activities, the WG aims to impact national policies on spectrum including federal repurposing auction mechanisms and spectrum fees. Of particular interest to the WG is President Obama’s National Broadband plan, which calls for government agencies to make an additional 500 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum available for mobile broadband within the next 10 years. Additionally, the matter of harmful interference imposed on the GPS due to Lightsquared’s ground stations calls for prompt industry engagement and is a topic of interest for the group as well.
One of the WG’s first undertakings will be a Capitol Hill education campaign to inform elected leaders about the importance of well thought-out policies for spectrum management. Additionally, the group will educate political leaders on the importance of spectrum for the aerospace and defense industries for timely product development, testing and safety.
AIA Source: cortney.robinson[at]aia-aerospace.org