the committee recommends that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) ensure that access to spectrum for passive radio and microwave observations of Earth environmental variables and radio astronomical observations of the sky is protected in the development of future spectrum policy.
Technological innovations continue to increase the utility of the radio spectrum. The advent of new technologies designed to exploit the diversity of the radio spectrum in space, frequency, polarization, and time will increase the efficiency of its use. However, the current means for managing spectrum use must be changed, as the current policies threaten to thwart scientific discovery, diminish the usefulness of critical environmental observations, and limit economic growth because of the inefficient use of finite spectral resources. Therefore, new spectrum management policies need to be explored for the sake of ensuring these critical national capabilities.
Finding: Radio wave bands (10 MHz to 3 THz) are indispensable for collecting information associated with specific astronomical and environmental phenomena. Often the same bands are equally indispensable for both passive Earth remote sensing and radio astronomy, and the passive nature of both services enables them to share the spectrum productively. Currently, 2.07 percent of the spectrum below 3 GHz is allocated to the RAS and EESS on a primary basis, and 4.08 percent is allocated on a secondary basis (measured in hertz).
Finding: Important scientific inquiry and applications enabled by the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service and the Radio Astronomy Service are significantly impeded or precluded by radio frequency interference (RFI). Such RFI has reduced the societal and scientific return of EESS and RAS observatories and necessitates costly interference mitigation, which is often insufficient to prevent damage from RFI.
Finding: Better utilization of the spectrum and reduced RFI for scientific as well as commercial applications are possible with better knowledge of actual spectrum usage. Progress toward these goals would be made by gathering more information through improved and continuous spectral monitoring. This would be beneficial to both the commercial and the scientific communities.
Recommendation: The Department of Commerce/National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), should spearhead the development of a national spectrum assessment system that measures the radio frequency (RF) environment with appropriately high