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Recasting PCAST After the WRC-19 - Agenda

The 2012 report to former President Barack Obama, from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) makes policy recommendations on the potential of government-held spectrum to spur economic growth. The report concludes that “clearing government-held spectrum of Federal users and auctioning it for commercial use is not sustainable” and that the U.S. government should adopt policies to share underutilized 1,000 MHz of Federal spectrum to implement shared-use spectrum pilot projects. Seven years later, the urgent need for access to spectrum is still an important issue both nationally and globally.

Currently, leaders are meeting at the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference raising and addressing several questions around the international treaty governing radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite (GSO) and non-geostationary-satellite orbits (NGSO). One challenge that has emerged from the discussion is the value of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) globally harmonizing bands.

These developments, coupled with the U.S. presidential election in 2020, suggest that it is time to revisit the PCAST report and develop new recommendations for making more spectrum available for new uses and users, and addressing issues around spectrum harmonization globally.

Participants will review the 2012 PCAST call for a shift in policy and examine its recommendations and the ensuing efforts to implement them. Conferences will also discuss the challenges and opportunities of the global harmonization of spectrum. What new approaches should policy- makers consider in relation to spectrum allocation and uses? What provisions prevent the highest and best uses of spectrum-sharing? How might we maximize the potential of 5G by thinking globally?

Monday, December 9, 2019

Session I. Evolving Canvas for Spectrum Policy
Spectrum is a scarce resource that is essential for the delivery of services and products that depend on more coverage, deployment and better quality. Access to more radio spectrum is needed for massive deployment of IoE, mobile and wireless broadband, and machine to machine (M2M) communications. At the same time, there is also a global race to deploy 5G. We begin the roundtable with a discussion of the evolving needs of spectrum. Given the recommendations of the 2012 PCAST report, along with the discussions at WRC-2019, what are the challenges and opportunities of spectrum allocation and use today? What are the needs of spectrum for future innovation and economic growth? And what recommendations within the 2012 PCAST report need to be revisited? Preston Marshall, Engineering Director, Google will begin our discussion with a presetation about current challenges and opportunities of spectrum management, and how spectrum is being used for innovative purposes.

Session II. Spectrum Architecture and Regulatory Solutions
In managing their spectrum, many national regulatory authorities around the world, including the U.S., are looking to areas of protected spectrum to provide innovative services. Yet, there are challenges to harmonizing technology standards and interference measurements globally to meet the growing needs of consumers and businesses. Furthermore, with China pushing equipment out to all areas of the globe, might they be establishing a de facto standard on band plans and policies? What kind of framework should be used for global harmonization of frequencies? How might the U.S. government address cross-border coordination, economies of scale and help create an interference-free environment? What regulatory solutions are available within the U.S. and what must be done on a global basis? Jennifer Manner, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, EchoStar Corporation, will provide a brief presetation on spectrum regulation internationally and the outcomes of WRC-19.

Session III. Working Groups
The Roundtable will break into three working groups with the aim of developing a proposal and recommendations that will address the most pressing issues in their subject area. In each case, what is the problem you are solving, how do you solve it, and who specifically needs to do what to achieve the goal?

  1. Policy for Spectrum – will consider various new approaches to interference standards, allocations and license rights. To what extent can the Federal government expand its options for managing Federal spectrum? What specific measures will best foster the desired outcomes?
  2. Global Harmonization after WRC-2019 – what is the value of the ITU globally harmonizing bands? What challenges and opportunities may arise if there is no achievement of global harmonization? Should the U.S. release unused or other spectrum bands to unlicensed technologies? How might U.S. government mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits in this area?
  3. States and Cities as Consumers as Regulators – will address the widening digital divide and other consumer needs in rural and urban places through new approaches to spectrum allocation and management. What agreements and approaches should be made between local governments and industry to meet the needs of consumers? What specific resources are needed for states and cities to protect the interests of consumers in this area?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Session IV. Working Groups Report

Session V. Refining Recommendations and Moving Forward Are there themes and/or cross-cutting measures that arise from the recommendations of the working groups? What refinements are appropriate? Who needs to do what to make these recommendations effective?