SECTION 5: SPECTRUM REALLOCATION FINAL PLAN
OVERVIEW OF REALLOCATED BANDS
The radio spectrum allocated for Federal use, especially in bands below
5 GHz, is intensely used for a variety of purposes including support of the
private sector. Identifying spectrum for reallocation
involved consideration of two overriding and sometimes competing factors: (1) the impact
on the Federal agencies, in terms of mission impact, costs, and potential
reduction of services to the public, and (2) the benefits expected to be
realized by the public. Taken in the aggregate, public comments on the
Preliminary Report supported the process established in Title VI, and
expressed interest in the following issues: reallocation of additional
spectrum for a variety of new technologies; adoption of a more rapid
reallocation schedule; and minimization of impact on existing non-Federal
use of spectrum currently shared with Federal users.
Responses to the Preliminary Report from Federal agencies, however,
raised significant concerns regarding operational impact and implementation
costs, which are estimated to exceed $500 million. Significant
impediment to the ability of Federal agencies to perform their missions
and a reduction in services provided to the public were widely regarded
as unacceptable tradeoffs. Taking into consideration the FCC Report, and
the comments by the public and the Federal agencies on the Preliminary
Report, a final spectrum reallocation plan was developed (See TABLE 5-1).
TABLE 5-1: Spectrum Reallocation Final Plan
for Reallocation Reallocation Reallocation
(MHz)[a] Status[b] Schedule
1390 - 1400 Exclusive January 1999
1427 - 1432 Exclusive January 1999
1670 - 1675 Mixed January 1999
1710 - 1755 Mixed January 1999/2004 [c]
2300 - 2310 Exclusive August 1995
2390 - 2400 Exclusive Reallocation Complete
2400 - 2402 Exclusive August 1995
2402 - 2417 Exclusive Reallocation Complete
2417 - 2450 Mixed August 1995
3650 - 3700 Mixed January 1999
4635 - 4660 Exclusive January 1997
4660 - 4685 Exclusive Reallocation Complete
[a] 225 - 400 Although not a part of this reallocation plan, ongoing discussions within the
Federal Government regarding long range plans for the 225-400 MHz band
will address non-Federal spectrum requirements, including the views
expressed by the FCC in its upcoming report to Congress on the spectrum
needs of public safety agencies.
3625 - 3650 Expanded non-Federal use of the these bands
5850 - 5925 is being addressed jointly by NTIA and the FCC.
[b] Federal stations that will continue operation in certain bands are listed in Appendices E & F.
[c] Earlier availability date applies only to the 25 largest U.S. cities and is further subject to
timely reimbursement of Federal costs, including reimbursement directly from the private
sector. See Section 4 for details.
In complying with the requirements and band selection criteria of
Title VI, this final spectrum reallocation plan establishes a reasonable
balance between the spectrum needs of non-Federal users and those of
the Federal Government.
In reallocating these bands, several issues are of special importance: costs to Federal agencies,
establishment of adequate receiver standards, adequate spectrum to which Federal agency operations
can relocate, and implementation of appropriate Federal agency acquistion procedures so that the
accelerated reallocation dates can be met. Title VI does not provide statutory authority for
reimbursement of Federal agency costs associated with any reallocation of spectrum. However, the
displaced Federal functions that result from spectrum reallocation must be preserved in other frequency
bands at considerable cost to the Federal agencies. Reimbursement of Federal costs, including
reimbursement directly from the private sector, will require Congressional legislation. Timely
reimbursement is an essential element of the final plan for bands identified for accelerated reallocation.
Several bands identified for reallocation in the final plan are adjacent to bands that will continue to be
used for high-power Federal systems, including megawatt radars. Numerous case histories exist where
commercial or consumer radio systems received interference and failed to operate properly because of
inadequate receiver filtering. In order to achieve the goals set by Title VI for development of new
technologies, adoption of effective receiver standards, either regulatory or established by industry, is
essential for bands identified in the final plan that are adjacent to high-power Federal systems.
This band is used by long-range air defense radars, air traffic control facilities, military test range
telemetry links, tactical radio relays, and radio astronomy. The band has potential for new non-Federal
fixed, mobile, and radiolocation communications technologies and applications. However, high-powered
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DOD) radars must continue to
operate in the lower adjacent-band, and important radio astronomy observations must continue within
the band. Thus, reallocating this band for exclusive non-Federal use would require that: (1) airborne
and space-to-Earth transmissions be prohibited to protect radio astronomy; (2) FAA and DOD install
filters on their high-powered radar transmitters; and (3) probable re-engineering of the new ARSR-4
joint FAA/DOD long-range radar. In addition, adopting adequate regulatory or industry receiver
standards for new non-Federal equipment in this band is essential to assure satisfactory performance of
new non-Federal services in bands adjacent to Federal high-power radars. Reallocation of this band is
scheduled in 1999 to permit satisfaction of these conditions and completion of Federal
reaccommodation efforts. Federal operations at 17 sites will be continued for 14 years. (See TABLE 4-1
in the text for a list of the sites.)
This band is used by military tactical radio relay communications and military test range aeronautical
telemetry and telecommand. The band has potential for new non-Federal fixed and mobile
communications technologies and applications. In order to protect sensitive radio astronomy
observations in the adjacent-band, reallocation for airborne or space-to-Earth communications should
be avoided. Reallocation of this band for non-Federal use in 1999 is scheduled to permit the orderly
phase-out of radio relay communications equipment, the procurement of replacement equipment, and
the engineering of associated network systems. In addition, essential military airborne operations at 14
sites will be continued for 9 years. (See TABLE 4-2 in the text for a list of the sites.)
This band is used by meteorological equipment that will have to be redesigned or replaced. The band
has potential for new non-Federal fixed or mobile communications. In order to protect sensitive radio
astronomy observations in the adjacent-band, reallocation for airborne or space-to-Earth communica-
tions should be avoided. Reallocation of this band is scheduled in 1999 to permit design and
procurement of replacement equipment for meteorological radiosonde systems. However, non-Federal
use at a limited number of sites that are engineered to be fully compatible with all Federal operations
could be given immediate consideration. Reallocation also requires continued protection of two
important meteorological-satellite service earth stations.
This band is currently used extensively for Federal fixed point-to-point microwave communications,
military tactical radio relay, and airborne telemetry systems. The band has potential for new non-Federal
fixed and mobile communications services. Reallocation of this band is scheduled for 2004 to provide
for the orderly phase-out of existing Federal systems, the design and procurement of replacement
equipment, and associated systems engineering. However, recognizing the needs of non-Federal users
for spectrum, especially in major urban areas, reallocation of the band in four years may be possible for
the 25 largest U.S. cities (see Table 4-1 in the text for list of cities), provided that: (1) reimbursement
is provided to the affected Federal agencies; (2) appropriate Federal Agency acquistion procedures are
implemented in order to support relocation of Federal systems; and (3) suitable and sufficient radio
spectrum is available for relocation. The reimbursement could be in the form of direct reimbursement
of costs to the Federal agencies by non-Federal entities similar to the process established by the FCC
in the adjacent 1850-1990 MHz band. New Congressional legislation would be necessary to effectuate
such a process. Title VI requires that all microwave communication systems operated by Federal power
agencies in this band continue operation and be protected from interference. Federal stations used for
limited times during emergency and disaster response will also continue operation and be protected from
interference. In addition, certain other Federal operations that provide safety-of-life and other critical
functions, and are located outside of the largest 25 cities, will continue operation and will be protected
2300-2310 MHz, 2390-2400 MHz, and 2402-2417 MHz
These bands are used by the military for radar testing systems, such as target scattering and enemy radar
simulators, and telemetry systems. The amateur service is also allocated in these bands on a secondary
basis. NASA uses an adjacent band (2290-2300 MHz) for highly sensitive deep space communications
and interplanetary research radar operations. The bands have potential for new non-Federal
radiolocation and fixed and mobile communications technologies, and are located in close proximity to
the 1850-2200 MHz band recently allocated by the FCC for personal communications services (PCS).
Action on the 2390-2400 and 2402-2417 MHz bands was completed on August 9, 1994 to remove
Federal operations in accordance with the immediate reallocation provisions of Title VI. Based on views
expressed by the public, the reallocation date of the 2300-2310 MHz band is accelerated to August 1995
to provide the opportunity for effective pairing with the 2390-2400 MHz band. Reallocation of the
2300-2310 MHz band includes constraints necessary for the protection of NASA's Deep Space Network
and Planetary Radar operations at Goldstone, California (See Section 4).
2400-2402 and 2417-2450 MHz
These band segments, which are part of the overall 2400-2450 MHz band, are allocated on a primary
basis to the Federal Government and used to a limited extent by the military for radar testing systems
such as target scattering and enemy radar simulators. The principal uses of these bands are industrial,
scientific, and medical (ISM) devices, the amateur service, and non-licensed devices authorized under
FCC Part 15 Rules. The Preliminary Report excluded the 2400-2402 MHz band segment from
reallocation, because of its vital importance to amateur-satellite operations. However, comments to
NTIA and the FCC from the amateur community argue that 2 MHz is too narrow to accommodate
future amateur-satellite growth. The 2417-2450 MHz band segment was previously excluded from
reallocation because of the high ambient radio noise levels from ISM devices, mostly microwave ovens.
Additional comments to NTIA and the FCC from the Part 15 industry argue that the entire
2400-2483.5 MHz band should remain available for non-licensed use. Based on the public comments, we
conclude that subdividing the 2400-2450 MHz band into three parts, as originally proposed, would not
best meet the needs of the principal users of the band.
Reallocating the entire 2400-2450 MHz band would provide the FCC with the opportunity to develop
a long-term regulatory framework and strategy that meets the needs of the amateur service and
addresses the requirements of a robust and growing Part 15 industry. Under a mixed use reallocation,
the Federal allocation would be reduced to secondary, with the limited remaining Federal presence
posing no impact on non-Federal use. This action creates a sense of stability regarding future non-Federal
use and provides the opportunity to have a significant amount of spectrum for long-term
development of non-licensed technologies. Furthermore, this would provide significant opportunities
for innovators and small companies to make contributions to the overall mix of products and services
available to the American public. We therefore include the 2400-2402 and 2417-2450 MHz bands for
reallocation beginning in August 1995. The 2 MHz in the first band is proposed for exclusive
non-Federal use and the 33 MHz in the second band is proposed for mixed Federal and non-Federal use.
This band is used by Navy air traffic control radars on aircraft carriers; is allocated to a number of
different radio services worldwide; and is designated as an expansion band for Federal ground-based
radionavigation services which could not be accommodated in the 2700-2900 MHz band. Thus, the
band could be used for new non-Federal technologies in the fixed, mobile (except aeronautical),
fixed-satellite and radiolocation services. Reallocating this band in 1999 will allow sufficient
time to re-engineer Navy radars for operation in coastal waters. In addition, adopting adequate regulatory or
industry receiver standards for new non-Federal equipment in this band is essential to assure satisfactory
performance of new non-Federal services in bands adjacent to Federal high-power radars. Essential
military radar operations will be continued at three sites. (See TABLE 4-4 in the text for a list of the
4635-4660 and 4660-4685 MHz
These bands are used for military airborne telemetry and high-powered tropospheric scatter communica-
tions systems. These bands have potential for a variety of new non-Federal fixed, mobile, and
fixed-satellite technologies and associated applications. Action on the 4660-4685 MHz band was completed
on August 9, 1994 to remove Federal operations in accordance with the immediate reallocation
provisions of Title VI. However, reallocating the 4635-4660 MHz band in 1997 is necessary to re-design
certain military telemetry systems. Furthermore, essential Federal airborne operations will be continued
for 14 years in the 4635-4660 MHz band at three sites. (See TABLE 4-5 in the text for a list of the sites.)
OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL IMPLEMENTATION COSTS
Every effort has been made to ensure that the bands identified in this report meet the Title VI selection
criteria. However, the displaced Federal functions resulting from reallocation must, in most cases, be
preserved in other frequency bands at considerable cost to the Federal Government. The Federal costs
associated with the reallocation were addressed in the Preliminary Report only in general terms.
Consequently, in releasing the Preliminary Report, the Secretary of Commerce issued requests to each
affected Federal agency to provide cost estimates for reallocating the candidate bands. TABLE 5-2
summarizes the Federal reallocation costs based on the responses received from that request. The values
represent estimated immediate and recurring costs over the 15-year period defined by Title VI.
TABLE 5-2: Summary of Federal Reallocation Costs
Federal Reallocation Estimated Cost
Agency Approach ($Million)
Agriculture Replace 580 Forest Service fixed microwave links. 48
Army Change frequencies and realign 260 Corps of Engineers 33
fixed microwave links. Increase training expenses for
tactical radio relay systems.
Commerce Redesign and replace NOAA nationwide radiosonde network. 35-55
Energy Replace 30 fixed microwave links. 3-10 [a]
Justice Convert 560 FBI fixed microwave links to commercially 144
available service. Replace 90 INS fixed microwave links.
Change frequencies and realign 500 DEA transportable
Treasury Replace Secret Service fixed microwave and air/ground 1
Interior Change frequencies and realign or replace 135 8-13
fixed microwave links.
Air Force Redesign radar, telemetry and weapon control systems. 60 [b]
Redesign integrated instrumentation systems.
Transportation Replace 150 FAA and Coast Guard fixed microwave links. 115 [c]
Redesign software for 44 joint FAA/AF air traffic
control radars (ARSR-4). Add filters to older FAA
air traffic control radars.
Navy Develop and possibly retrofit various weapon control 30-113 [d]
[a] The higher range is required if an exception is not provided to other
Federal agencies carrying DOE electrical power distribution information.
[b] Costs could increase by up to $123 million if unacceptable interference
to or from non-Federal systems necessitates major hardware changes or replacement
of Air Force telemetry and data link systems.
[c] Costs could increase by up to $500 million if unacceptable interference to or
from non-Federal users necessitates major hardware changes or replacement of joint
FAA/AF ARSR-4 radars.
[d] Costs could increase by up to $63 million if unacceptable interference to or
from non-Federal users necessitates retrofit of Navy carrier landing system radars.
Return to Report Table of Contents.
Proceed to Appendix A, Examination of Transition Options and Costs for the 1710 - 1755 MHz Band.