SpectrumX sends center comment in response to FCC Notice of Inquiry, as agency strives to understand non-federal spectrum usage

By Christina Clark

In August, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a special invitation. In a Notice of Inquiry (NOI), it called upon researchers and others to help the FCC use “today’s tools to understand tomorrow’s commercial spectrum usage.”

SpectrumX, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Spectrum Innovation Center, rose to the occasion. It submitted a center NOI comment with ten contributing authors and eight center endorsers.

In the comment, the center outlined the FCC NOI’s alignment with SpectrumX’s purpose and vision. Traditionally, policymakers and governing bodies receive responses to NOIs from lobbyists on behalf of industry stakeholders. As researchers and educators, the members of SpectrumX are uniquely positioned to give cross-institutional and cross-discipline comments. The center is composed of a team of 41 founding researchers and staff from 27 universities, including minority serving institutions (MSIs). The team is an interdisciplinary group of scientists, engineers, and educators.

“The FCC NOI presented a unique opportunity for SpectrumX investigators to engage directly with the FCC with ongoing research in spectrum measurements,” said Monisha Ghosh, SpectrumX policy outreach director and professor at the University of Notre Dame. “As part of the center’s mission, we are empowered to use the research outputs from SpectrumX to  advise but not advocate on spectrum policy matters.”

The center is also empowered by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the FCC, NSF, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) entered into in 2022 to facilitate sharing of subject matter expertise. The MoU is the result of increased collaboration between the two federal agencies and how they will continue to coordinate the management of the country’s spectrum resources.

The comment shared that “One of the key elements of the SpectrumX vision is that scalable spectrum measurements and monitoring can contribute to more data-driven and automatic approaches to spectrum management.” The commenters recommended leveraging a combination of the following components: low-cost radio frequency (RF) and wireless networking sensing technologies, open-source software, commodity cloud and data infrastructure, shared datasets, and machine learning tools.” By “harnessing these components into integrated measurement campaigns and networked sensing deployments,” the commenters wrote, the FCC will be able to “produce actionable data insights for policymakers.”

Members of SpectrumX who contributed to the center’s FCC NOI response include: authors Nick Laneman, center director, University of Notre Dame; Tanya Ennis, broadening participation director, University of Colorado Boulder; Monisha Ghosh, policy outreach director, University of Notre Dame; Albin Gasiewski, University of Colorado Boulder; Keith Gremban, University of Colorado Boulder; Deidra Hodges, Florida International University; Prashant Krishnamurthy, University of Pittsburgh; Anant Sahai, University of California Berkeley; Mariya Zheleva, University of Albany – SUNY; and endorsers: Scott Palo, associate director, University of Colorado Boulder; Michael Honig, research director, Northwestern University; Anja Fourie, education and workforce development director, NRAO; Aylin Yener, Ohio State University; Ilia Murtazashvili, University of Pittsburgh; Ali Palida, University of Pittsburgh; Cong Shen, University of Virginia; Nikolaos Sidiropoulos, University of Virginia. 

Center members also filed separate comments including:

The comment deadline date for the FCC NOI was October 3, 2023, with the date for reply comments slated for November 2, 2023. Read the full FCC Notice of Inquiry here.

About SpectrumX

SpectrumX is funded by the 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