This post is part of our “Spotlight on NTIA” blog series, which is highlighting the work that NTIA employees are doing to advance NTIA’s mission of promoting broadband adoption, finding spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless technologies, and ensuring the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.
In addition to ensuring that federal agencies have the spectrum they need to carry out important missions for the American people, NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management in recent years has been working hard to help meet the President’s goal of making 500 megahertz of spectrum available for wireless broadband by 2020.
Ed Drocella, chief of the Spectrum Engineering and Analysis Division in the Office of Spectrum Management, has played a key role in helping to address some of the technical challenges associated with NTIA’s work on the 500 megahertz spectrum initiative. Most recently, Drocella led the NTIA team that helped pave the way for commercial use of the 3.5 Ghz band. In a 2010 report, NTIA proposed the shared use by commercial and federal users of the 3.5 GHz band as long as geographic exclusion zones were included to protect critical high-powered radar systems operated by the Department of Defense (DoD). However, for the band to be commercially viable, the initial exclusion zones needed to be reduced. Drocella’s team at NTIA spearheaded groundbreaking analysis and modeling techniques and collaborated closely with DoD and FCC staff to significantly reduce the exclusion zones, maximizing the commercial market potential for new broadband services. This collaboration between NTIA, FCC and DoD paved the way for the new rules issued by the FCC in April creating a tiered system for shared use of the 3.5 Ghz band.
Drocella has been at NTIA for more than two decades. His first job after receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University was as an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute, a Defense contractor.
Drocella said he has stayed at NTIA so long because he has been given many opportunities that he might not have had working someplace else. He also enjoys being able to see his work have such a major impact. “That’s pretty exciting to see your work mentioned in the newspaper,” he said.
Drocella grew up near Baltimore and lives in the same area today. With all the time he spends inside at work, Drocella said he likes to spend his free time enjoying the outdoors, hunting, fishing and camping.