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CHAPTER I - Introduction

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued an influential report in 2012 on how spectrum policy could drive innovation and economic growth. The report makes policy recommendations and concludes that the U.S. government should adopt policies to share 1,000 MHz of underutilized federal spectrum to implement shared-use spectrum pilot projects. Eight years later, the urgent need for access to spectrum is still a critical issue both nationally and globally.

Currently, one of the most novel recommendations of the PCAST report is in the process of being implemented to accommodate shared federal and non-federal use of the band: the FCC’s Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) framework for the 3.5 GHz band. Still, the set of spectrum policies that will best advance economic growth and equity continue to be a topic of deep discussion, with different perspectives from economists, engineers, and lawyers focusing on a myriad of industries (e.g., satellite, terrestrial wireless, platforms that rely on unlicensed spectrum) and user groups (e.g., federal, commercial). In the fall of 2019, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) held the World Radio Conference (WRC-19) in Egypt, a month-long meeting of 192 countries seeking global harmonization of spectrum policies. Permeating all discussions of spectrum policy in the current timeframe are the interwoven topics of the increased influence of China’s wireless industry, 5G, and U.S. national security.

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