Last year, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, at the direction of the Biden administration, released its long-awaited National Spectrum Strategy (NSS). As part of its Presidential Memorandum, the NSS outlines the government’s plan to advance wireless communications and technologies. While the release is a welcome development, the strategy itself is lacking. Specifically, it fails to free up any licensed spectrum for commercial purposes or call on Congress to renew the FCC’s auctioning authority.

The result is a missed opportunity by the administration to establish concrete steps for identifying adequate amounts of spectrum (invisible radio frequencies over which wireless signals travel), specifically licensed mid-band spectrum, needed for fueling the fifth-generation revolution and securing U.S. leadership in wireless communications.

Advertised by the White House as a blueprint for the future that will “guide decisions about how to allocate limited spectrum resources and ensure that these decisions are made through a rigorous, transparent process,” the NSS correctly acknowledges that emerging technologies are creating “increasing demand” for spectrum. To meet this demand, the administration suggests that the NTIA conduct a short-term study on potentially repurposing 2,786 Megahertz of spectrum. Specifically, the administration suggests that a mix of bands, including 3.1-3.45 GHz, 5030-5091 GHz, 7125-8400 GHz, 18.1-18.6 GHz, and 37.0-37.6 GHz, be reconsidered for commercial purposes. Incumbent users like the Department of Defense currently occupy these bands.

While a good first step, considering the looming spectrum shortfall, studying spectrum is not enough. The administration has had several years to identify new spectrum bands and build a spectrum pipeline, but its NSS only suggests studying five bands over the next two years. This is insufficient.

Read the full Inside Sources article here.

Nate Scherer is a policy analyst with the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit us at www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on X @ConsumerPal.