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Rethinking Institutions of Spectrum Management - Agenda

Spectrum management, regulation and enforcement are arcane enough in themselves. Added to the complexity, though, is the labyrinth of governments, government agencies, and other institutions of regulatory or semi-regulatory authority that providers of new applications and services must encounter to innovate in the field.  While this has long been the case, the newest uses, such as drones, the Internet of Things, 5G, telemedicine, autonomous self-driving cars, and other new apps still pose more issues and complications.  Is it time to restructure the spectrum management and regulatory system?  Looking at a few case examples, this roundtable will consider the current structure, determine whether a different structure would benefit all the various stakeholders, and if so, devise a new institutional schema to do so.

Monday, November 6, 2017

 Keynote Presentation
The History of Spectrum Management
Presenter: Peter Tenhula, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Session I.  Setting the Context
The meeting opens with an examination of the current construct of spectrum management in the United States with a comparison to examples from other countries.  The group will explore the institutions of regulation and governance by using two case examples: drones and the Internet of Things.  What are the key issues that arise for the use of drones by private individuals and in establishing tools for the Internet of Things?  Which agencies, indeed which governments (federal, state, local, international) are involved?

Session II: Structures of Management, Governance and Inclusion
From the morning’s examples, how is the US Government currently structured to manage spectrum and attend to other related governance and regulation questions?  What are the problems and issues that arise?  How and when does civil society get engaged in the processes in a more fundamental way, perhaps analogous to Internet governance?

Session III.  Working Groups
Each working group should develop a schematic for governmental management of spectrum and regulation of related issues (e.g., privacy).  Each should also consider issues of enforcement.

  1. Drones and Other Security-Related Issues
    Working Group Moderator: Dennis Roberson
    Drones are an example of a burgeoning technology and business that involves a number of federal, state and local agencies in the commercial and security sectors.  What is the best governmental structure and set of operational protocols to achieve desired results (including preventing the use of drones for terrorist activities, flight interference, RF interference, breach of privacy, and local aesthetics.)
  2. IoT, 5G and Business Apps
    Working Group Moderator: Larry Downes
    In each of these areas, businesses will be innovating with new products and services using spectrum as a key resource.  What are the governmental barriers to effective and efficient roll-outs and provision of services?  What other non-economic issues are involved that implicate different government agencies, including state and local?  How should these efforts be coordinated so that government functions most effectively and fairly.
  3. Pro-social activities
    Working Group Moderator: Nicol Turner-Lee
    Government spectrum management and regulation is part of broader laws aiming to serve the public interest.  This often includes pro-social goals such as universal service/digital inclusion, fairness, environmental considerations, historic preservation, and protection of civil rights and civil liberties.  How do these goals factor into the appropriate structure for spectrum management, including inter-agency relations?  How do the economics of IoT and 5G affect broadband provisioning to people in urban, suburban and rural areas?

Session IV.  Working Group Reports
Each working group will report to the full group its approach to the governing institutions of spectrum management, regulation and enforcement (20 minutes total for presentation and comments).  The group will spend the final 30 minutes determining if there is a common thread around which a new structure can develop.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Session V.  Refining Recommendations
Participants will arrive at an overall structural schematic to accommodate the recommendations of the working groups.  Once the basic structure is predominantly agreed upon, recognizing significant differences where appropriate, the group will break out into new working groups to refine three major questions raised by the new structure.  These might be along jurisdictional lines, e.g., (A) Federal, State, Local inter-relations, (B) USG Structural Issues, and (C) International, or substantive lines such as (A) Drones, (B) 5G, and (C) Edge Cases.