In March of 1996, just over three years ago, the Commission held an en banc hearing to examine policy issues associated with our management of the radio spectrum resource. Since that time, much has happened in terms of spectrum auctions, technological developments, the demand for additional spectrum, and expanding globalization of telecommunications markets. Moreover, as currently composed, this Commission has had only limited opportunities to review our approach to spectrum management on a broader basis, outside the scope of particular proceedings.

Last September, Commissioner Ness proposed that the Commission hold another en banc hearing on the subject of spectrum management in order to gain information to better assess how we are doing in terms of our stewardship of the spectrum resource, and to gather suggestions from the public -- users, providers, manufacturers, academics and other government agencies -- on how we might improve the overall process. I resoundingly seconded the idea. So, under the able leadership of Commissioner Ness and with the concurrence of all the Commissioners, we’ve organized this hearing to provide insight on current spectrum management policies and practices from the viewpoint of users and to identify options for developing future spectrum management policy. I wish to take this opportunity, however, to state very clearly that the focus of today’s hearing is on the overall process of spectrum management, and not on specific issues currently before us.

Today’s hearing is organized into three panels. Panel 1, composed of government experts, will discuss spectrum management fundamentals. I’ll briefly introduce the panelists at the beginning of each panel. Panel 2, composed of representative of current users will discuss what is working well with the FCC's current spectrum management process and what is not working. Panel 3 will discuss potential new approaches to spectrum management, including addressing alternative, revolutionary and "out-of-the-box" approaches.

I’m advised there will likely not be time for questions for Panel 1. However, following brief presentations by each panelists on Panels 2 and 3, we will pose questions to the panelists aimed at eliciting information on some of the fundamental issues we face in spectrum management and focusing the panelists’ attention on the challenges we face in trying to accommodate more and more uses and users in a limited amount of spectrum. By keeping the panelists’ focused on a broad view of spectrum management, we hope that at the end of the day we have a better understanding of the policy options available to us as we head into the next millennium.


I’m pleased to have here today such a distinguished group of government employees.

Our own Dale Hatfield, Chief of the Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology, and mentor on all engineering and technical matters to all of the Commissioners, will begin the presentations with an overview of spectrum fundamentals. Next we have Bruce Franca, Deputy Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, co-chair of the FCC’s intrabureau and office spectrum coordinating committee and one of the unsung heroes of spectrum policy at the FCC who has been a behind the scenes expert here for many years. Then, we have our newest Bureau Chief, Tom Sugrue, Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and former Deputy Administrator at NTIA. Tom brings many unique perspectives to his position and we already see his imprimatur on spectrum-related matters coming from the WTB. Following Tom Sugrue will be Tom Tycz, Chief of the Satellite and Radiocommunications Division of the International Bureau. In the words of Commissioner Ness, Tom Tycz is a "national treasure." Tom has been invaluable to the FCC and the US satellite industry and indeed, recently received high praise from Vonja McCain at the State Department for his efforts on behalf of the US. I’m also pleased to announce that Tom will be receiving PCIA’s Bowler award this May. Congratulations Tom. Also on this panel is Bob Pepper, Chief of the Office of Plans and Policy and a key planner of FCC spectrum policy for many years. Finally, on this first panel we have our distinguished colleague William T. Hatch, Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management at NTIA.


Now that we all are refreshed on the fundamental terms and issues involved in spectrum management, we’ll turn to our second panel. We’ve asked these distinguished panelists to give their opinions on what is working well with the FCC's current spectrum management process and what is not working. We’ve also asked that the panelists focus their initial presentations around three broad questions:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of providing spectrum for new services by the following approaches: a) increased sharing; b) requiring technical improvements to existing services (such as reducing channel bandwidths); c) reallocation of spectrum through a "band clearing" approach, i.e., the mandatory relocation of existing users by a date certain; and d) reallocation of spectrum from one service to another using an "emerging technologies" approach where new entrants are responsible for relocating existing users?

  2. The traditional distinctions between services, such as fixed and mobile, appear to be lessening in recent years. Recently, in allocating spectrum to new services the Commission has attempted to provide licensees with broad discretion in the services they can provide. When should the Commission promote more flexible use of the spectrum versus when should it adopt more detailed technical and operational regulations for the use of the spectrum?

  3. Certain uses of the radio spectrum may involve substantial non-economic factors that may be very difficult to assess during the normal spectrum allocation process. Examples include public safety services, the radio amateur service, radio astronomy, and certain unlicensed uses. How can the Commission properly take into account the needs of these types of services in making allocation decisions as well as international considerations in the development of spectrum management policy and licensing decisions?

The panelists for panel 2 are:

Lynn Claudy, Senior Vice President of the Science and Technology Department, NAB; Mark Crosby, President, Industrial Telecommunications Association;


Now that we better understand some of the issues and controversies surrounding our current spectrum management, we will hear from a panel of distinguished scholars and thinkers who will, hopefully, provide us with new and innovative ways to think about spectrum management and to seriously challenge us to consider new approaches that may seem to many as revolutionary or "out-of-box." We’ve asked these panelists to begin with presentations that touch on the following two questions:

  1. What approach or approaches should the Commission use to manage the spectrum in the future? How would the suggested approach address issues such as international considerations or policy goals such as fostering affordable services to rural and underserved areas?

  2. Are there technological developments that have occurred or are foreseeable that would fundamentally change the way the Commission should manage the spectrum?

The panelists for panel 3 are: