On July 30, the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) Working Group 1 released its Final Report (along with a Presentation) on the topic of governance. That report includes a number of proposals to improve the spectrum-management process that involve reassigning, consolidating, and/or transferring to a new federal agency functions currently performed by the FCC (for commercial spectrum) and NTIA (for federal spectrum).In October 2018, the White House issued the "Presidential Memorandum on Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America's Future."
CSMAC Working Group 1's mission was to evaluate whether the existing spectrum governance model is optimized to implement that (still under development) National Spectrum Strategy — and if not, to propose alternatives.
In its Final Report, Working Group 1 concludes that "the United States’ current approach for managing the use of spectrum is no longer effectively serving the needs of the entire stakeholder community and would benefit from reform." It therefore proposes a number of possible changes. They include:
- Creating a new "Full-Service Spectrum Agency" that would assume all spectrum-related responsibilities currently handled by the FCC and NTIA;
- Combining the two into a single, independent "Unity Agency," of which the FCC and NTIA would serve as subsidiary "offices," and empowering a single administrator with decision-making authority (thereby eliminating the need for FCC commissioners);
- Establishing a "Spectrum Resource Agency" that would be responsible for only a subset of the spectrum-related actions that the FCC and NTIA currently perform (that is, planning and allocation, international policy, R&D, and forecasting), with those agencies continuing to carry out spectrum assignments (including auctions), licensing, equipment authorization, and similar functions; and
- Transferring to a "New FCC" the spectrum management responsibilities of the NTIA — or, in the alternative, to a "New NTIA" the spectrum management responsibilities of the FCC.
- An expanded focus on R&D;
- Revisions to the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the FCC and NTIA; and
- A periodic review of spectrum governance models (that is, every 3-5 years).