UTC Asks for NTIA Support on Spectrum for Utilities
Tuesday, March 06, 2018 | Comments

Utilities Technology Council (UTC) CEO Joy Ditto asked in a letter for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) continued support in ensuring spectrum is available for utilities.

Ditto submitted the letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in response to an oversight hearing on NTIA.

“For decades, utilities have owned, maintained and operated wireless communications systems to support mission-critical operations related to day-to-day reliability, storm response and restoration, and physical and cybersecurity,” the letter said. “Spectrum is the lifeblood for utility wireless systems, and the need for spectrum access will only increase going forward. As the Subcommittee oversees NTIA’s spectrum policies, we urge NTIA to continue to support access to spectrum by utilities, as well as for 5G services, the latter of which could not function without the former.”

The letter noted that most federal agencies recognize electric and natural gas utilities as some of the most critical of all the critical infrastructure industries (CII).

“Spectrum is an essential element to our highly reliable electric infrastructure,” the letter said. “Given the essential nature of our industry — along with NTIA’s mission of efficient spectrum use by the federal government — finding a mechanism to allow for spectrum sharing with utilities is an important initiative.”

UTC has initiated discussions about a public-private partnership in the 406 – 420 MHz band, which is lightly used right now, the letter said. Under such a partnership, utilities would build out the band and work with the few existing government incumbents in the band to ensure there is continued robust availability for those users.

The letter said that UTC is looking for a concrete agreement with the NTIA in the next few weeks.

“As this subcommittee knows, spectrum needs across the country are growing exponentially,” the letter said. “Utilities are well aware of this and recognize the government’s responsibility for allocating spectrum in ways that support the public interest. UTC stands ready to assist in this effort. Our organization has resources and subject-matter experts willing to provide Subcommittee members with any information or resources they need.”

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