AAS ACTION ALERT 2002-02
COMMENTS TO FCC SPECTRUM POLICY TASK FORCE DUE 8 JULY 2002
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formed a Spectrum Policy Task Force (SPTF) to take a modern look at their policies governing electromagnetic spectrum use with the goal of trying to increase efficiency and flexibility. A governing principle is "economic value." The charge, which Raises 23 questions (many multipart), is broad. FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell was quoted in the 19 June 2002 Washington Post regarding the new FCC philosophy:
"Validate the purpose of a rule, or eliminate it." The SPTF web site suggests moving the FCC from a "command & control" approach to a "market oriented" approach.
The SPTF questions are broken down into Market Oriented Allocation & Assignment Policies; Interference Protection; Spectral Efficiency; Public Safety Communications; and International Issues. Your comments need not be limited to these topics and the questions raised therein.
The FCC Notice was posted on 6 June. The deadline for filing Comments is 8 JULY (i.e., SOON). The SPTF Notice and responses are available here.
Replies from the astronomy community regarding the "value" of their uses of allocated spectrum either in the context of the SPTF charge, or in general, are needed BY 8 JULY. A particular issue we can stress is the protection of the radio observatories (new & old) as "electromagnetic wilderness," or "electromagnetic national park", areas which are as quiet as possible to allow reception of faint cosmic signals from our one and only Universe. At the same time we can support improved and new technical developments (e.g., in modulation, filtering and RFI excision) which may benefit all. Useful background on spectrum management issues are available at the following web sites.
Don Backer, Chair, National Academy of Science/National Research Council, Committee on Radio Frequencies
[Mailed to US members from aas.org at 10:40am 2 July 2002]
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