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July 14, 2000

Separate Statement
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: U.S. GPS Industry Council, American Airlines and United Airlines, Consolidated Petition for Reconsideration of Waivers Issued under Delegated Authority by the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, Order (rel. July 14, 2000).

As is apparent from the face of this item, we adopted this order five months ago. My colleagues and I only recently were advised that the release of this order had been delayed, apparently due to efforts to coordinate with NTIA. While the Commission has taken steps to ensure the timely release of its rulings, this case demonstrates that we need to refine our procedures further. Orders adopted by the Commission should be released within seven days of their adoption. I have suggested one procedure that I hope will assist in preventing such delays in the future.

In addition, where NTIA has jurisdiction for government-owned spectrum, we need to develop a better process for coordination. Such a process clearly is needed to ensure that the Commission and NTIA can discharge their respective responsibilities in a manner that permits the FCC to issue prompt decisions that best serve the public interest. NTIA’s consultation should be obtained promptly on policies that impact government spectrum, but this must not include the review and editing of items that have been adopted but not yet released by the Commission.

This is particularly important at the time we are evaluating the possible authorization of ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. This technology has great promise but, as responsible spectrum managers, we must be sure that it can be deployed without causing unacceptable interference to existing services, especially GPS. This issue will be addressed as part of the rulemaking process that we recently initiated to consider permitting UWB devices to operate on an unlicensed basis under Part 15 of our rules. I have already expressed my strong support for the joint testing of this technology by NTIA and other interested parties so that we may best evaluate the effects of UWB operation. I look forward to receiving reliable test data from NTIA’s labs based on objective test parameters that will assist us in our deliberations.