AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 30 Radio Frequency Interference
Special Session, Monday, May 31, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, 610/612

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[30.01] Current and Future Regulation of the RF Spectrum in the US and Abroad

T. E. Gergely (National Science Foundation)

In the US, regulation of the radio spectrum proceeds on two tracks. Spectrum use by the federal government is regulated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a Bureau of the Department of Commerce; the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates spectrum use by the private sector. There is continuous coordination between these two agencies, as most portions of the spectrum are used jointly by the government and the private sector. Radio astronomers provide input to NTIA through the NSF Spectrum Management office, and to the FCC through filings of the Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF) of the National Academy of Sciences. This basic structure, that has been in place for over two decades, is under great strain due to the demands posed by the introduction of a variety of new services, e.g. a wireless services, UWB, etc., many of which do not fit easily under the traditional block allocation system. One attempt to deal with these issues, currently underway at the FCC, proposes to quantify and manage interference in terms of an "interference temperature". Astronomers must pay attention to these developments, as they may have a profound impact in their ability to access portions of the radio spectrum.

Internationally, spectrum regulation is the domain of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Radio astronomy is one of the radio services, and issues of importance to astronomers are discussed in several of the ITU Study Groups (SGs), in particular, SG 7, dedicated to the Science Services. The status of some of the issues of importance to astronomers currently discussed at the ITU, e.g. satellite allocations in the vicinity of bands allocated to radio astronomy and control of adjacent band emissions will be discussed.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tgergely@nsf.gov

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