NSF SpectrumX Responds to NTIA on Implementing the National Spectrum Strategy

By Christina Clark

In November 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) put out a request for information on the Implementation Plan for the National Spectrum Strategy (NSS). Seventy-five spectrum stakeholders responded to the request, including NSF SpectrumX, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Spectrum Innovation Center. 

In SpectrumX’s conclusion, the authors state:

“There are substantial synergies between the NSS Implementation Plan and both ongoing and planned SpectrumX activities, some of which have been described in this response. The relationships between academia, government, and industry that have been fostered through the NSF [Spectrum Innovation Initiative (SII)] and SpectrumX can be leveraged and dramatically expanded by NTIA in accomplishing the goals of the NSS as described in the pillars and strategic objectives.”

The NTIA released the National Spectrum Strategy after a  month period of stakeholder engagement. The NSS includes four “pillars” to achieve objectives for both near- and long-term goals:

  • “Pillar One: A Spectrum Pipeline to Ensure U.S. Leadership in Advanced and Emerging Technologies
  • Pillar Two:“Collaborative Long-Term Planning to Support the Nation’s Evolving Spectrum Needs
  • Pillar Three: Unprecedented Spectrum Innovation, Access, and Management through Technology Development
  • Pillar Four: Expanded Spectrum Expertise and Elevated National Awareness” shape the strategy as it is currently published.

In its official comment, SpectrumX summarizes its suggestions:

We present detailed comments and suggestions on the following aspects of the NSS, which we hope are useful to NTIA in framing the NSS Implementation Plan:

  1. Spectrum Utilization and Coexistence: We recommend that NTIA along with other Federal agencies convene the relevant stakeholders, including academia as a neutral participant, in studies that evaluate fairly how spectrum may be repurposed, reallocated, and/or shared.
  2. Testbeds: We recommend that NTIA explore how government, academia, and industry can collaborate in building very specific spectrum coexistence testbeds in 3.1 – 3.45 GHz and 7.125 – 8.4 GHz. This activity should include collecting detailed measurements about actual usage of these bands, as being done in SpectrumX, and leverage existing testbeds such as some of the ones being built under NSF’s Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program. Instead of a single testbed, we recommend distributing testing with experimental licenses in different locations.
  3. Workforce development: We recommend that NTIA partner with NSF and leverage ongoing efforts within centers such as SpectrumX to educate the next generation of spectrum leaders. These educational efforts range from developing focused curricula to short- and long-term training, and have the goal of broadening participation of groups who have not historically engaged in these domains.
  4. Economic valuation of spectrum: We recommend that NTIA, in collaboration with Federal agencies, academia and industry, develop mechanisms and models that reveal or estimate the value of spectrum accounting for alternative uses by Federal and non-Federal stakeholders together with alternative access models including exclusively licensed, unlicensed, and sharing protocols. 

SpectrumX’s comments were authored by eight members of the center, and endorsed by two members of the center’s leadership team.

Contributing authors:


  • N. Scott Barker, SpectrumX broadening participation co-director, University of Virginia
  • Keith Gremban, SpectrumX, University of Colorado Boulder

Read the full SpectrumX comments here: Comments from SpectrumX

Learn more about the National Spectrum Strategy, stakeholder engagement, and further received comments here: NTIA National Spectrum Strategy Stakeholder Engagement

About SpectrumX

SpectrumX is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of its Spectrum Innovation Initiative, under grant number AST 21-32700. SpectrumX is the world’s largest academic hub where all radio spectrum stakeholders can innovate, collaborate, and contribute to maximizing social welfare of this precious resource.

To learn more about SpectrumX, please visit spectrumx.org.

Christina Clark, Research Communications Specialist
SpectrumX / Notre Dame Research / University of Notre Dame
cclark26@nd.edu / 574.631.2665