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Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century (2010)

Chapter:Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2010. Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12800.
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Appendix A
Statement of Task

The current system of allocating bands in the radio spectrum was developed more than 50 years ago, and a review of the needs of scientific users is in order. In recent years, the explosion of new wireless technologies has significantly increased the demand for access to the radio spectrum. The increased demand has led to discussions in both government and industry with respect to new ways of thinking about spectrum allocation and use. Scientific users of the radio spectrum (such as radio astronomers and earth scientists using remotely sensed data) have an important stake in the policies that will result from this activity. It is proposed that a survey of the scientific uses of the spectrum be conducted to identify the needs of today’s scientific activities and to assist spectrum managers in balancing the requirements of the scientific users of the spectrum with those of other interests. The survey will be carried out by a National Research Council (NRC) committee over a period of 18 months.

A balanced committee of 15 people will be formed to prepare an NRC report surveying scientific uses of the spectrum. Following is the committee’s statement of task:

The committee will prepare a report exploring the scientific uses of the radio spectrum which will:

  • Portray the science that is currently being conducted using the radio spectrum;

  • Identify the spectrum requirements necessary to conduct research;

  • Identify the anticipated future spectrum requirements for at least the next 10 years; and

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2010. Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12800.
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  • Advise spectrum policy-makers on the value to the nation of accommodating scientific uses of the spectrum, recognizing the need to balance multiple communities.

The committee will comment on the spectrum use by the relevant scientific communities but will not make recommendations on the allocation of specific frequencies.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2010. Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12800.
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Page197
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2010. Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12800.
×
Page198
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Radio observations of the cosmos are gathered by geoscientists using complex earth-orbiting satellites and ground-based equipment, and by radio astronomers using large ground-based radio telescopes. Signals from natural radio emissions are extremely weak, and the equipment used to measure them is becoming ever-more sophisticated and sensitive.

The radio spectrum is also being used by radiating, or "active," services, ranging from aircraft radars to rapidly expanding consumer services such as cellular telephones and wireless internet. These valuable active services transmit radio waves and thereby potentially interfere with the receive-only, or "passive," scientific services. Transmitters for the active services create an artificial "electronic fog" which can cause confusion, and, in severe cases, totally blinds the passive receivers.

Both the active and the passive services are increasing their use of the spectrum, and so the potential for interference, already strong, is also increasing. This book addresses the tension between the active services' demand for greater spectrum use and the passive users' need for quiet spectrum. The included recommendations provide a pathway for putting in place the regulatory mechanisms and associated supporting research activities necessary to meet the demands of both users.

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