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CHAPTER VII - Conclusion

In seeking to define spectrum policies that promote both growth and equity, the group revisited the PCAST report recommendations and the 2019 World Radio Conference, and focused on three topics: federal spectrum policy, the digital divide, and whether the WRC continues to be useful to the United States. Woven through the discussion were concerns about China as a global competitor and a threat to U.S. national security, and how to assess the success of the CBRS framework, which is still in process.

Conferees emphasized the importance of having multiple tools to use, including a CBRS-like model, and on modifying the Spectrum Relocation Fund to allow for more flexibility in spending to achieve more optimal solutions for both federal and commercial users. The group agreed that the U.S government should reform the Spectrum Relocation Fund, and that the monies can be used to administer an automated spectrum management system. They also agreed that the U.S. government should develop a national spectrum inventory.

To help address the digital divide, additional mid-band spectrum should be made available by the government to provide coverage for urban and rural communities. Further, the digital divide is not really a single divide, but has to be considered in a nuanced, granular way, with a toolbox of solutions to address the different divides. Subsidies should also be provided for fixed services for people living in rural areas to promote affordability.

Lastly, the federal government should occasionally re-evaluate participation in the World Radio Conferences to determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs. The group concluded that the WRC currently is more advantageous than disadvantageous for the United States and that it is better than the identified alternatives.

While there are many challenges that are looming with the advent of emerging technology, there are more opportunities in the creative use and application of spectrum technologies. Federal, state, and local government will need to work together to realize the many promises inherent in the current digital society.

 
 
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