Spectrum Policy Efforts Continue to Lead the Way

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Silicon Flatirons’ work in spectrum policy continues, leading efforts across the spectrum (as it were) of issues.

We hosted our annual conference in September, this year dubbed “The Spectrum Hall of Shame: The Worst (and Best) Radio Policy Decisions.” With a bit of good-natured finger pointing, we identified successful and unsuccessful past policies and discussed how to improve current and future rulemakings based on the lessons learned. You can watch the video recording of the conference and read the newly published Flatirons Report summarizing the discussion.

Also this fall, Pierre presented a paper on inter-satellite interference risk assessment with Susan Tonkin at the TPRC conference. This work implements the risk assessment framework Pierre developed with the FCC TAC satellite working group last year, and finds that interference risk is low in both Ka-band and V-band, even without mitigation.

Dale, meanwhile, is providing help to the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) for a project that aims to assist the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) in expanding and developing advanced, fourth generation (4G) wireless services in Afghanistan. CLDP is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce that helps achieve U.S. foreign policy goals in developing and post-conflict countries through commercial legal reforms. Along with other CLDP colleagues and outside experts, Dale is focusing his attention on policies and methods for apportioning, valuing, and awarding radio frequency spectrum that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) require in the country for the provision of the advanced wireless services on a competitive basis.

Additionally, Dale and Pierre are researching the vulnerability of wireless systems from fixed and mobile communications networks to non-communications systems like GPS and radar. The vulnerabilities include intentional interference (ranging from deliberate attacks by nation-states to hacking by thrill-seeking individuals) and degradation due to poor system design and operation. With the exponentially increasing reliance on wireless systems and services, such attacks or failures can produce correspondingly severe economic and social impacts.

In support of this initiative, Colorado Law students Sophie Galleher, Susan Miller, and John Schoppert are each engaged in a two-semester project. Sophie’s work investigates the dangers associated with relying upon a single, standardized, globally interconnected 5G network and the impact if that network “gets sick” as a result of an attack or failure. Susan’s project focuses on the vulnerabilities of network control/signaling channels as opposed to the actual electronic or physical channels used to deliver the associated “payload” – a distinction that is critical in the cybersecurity context. John’s project considers “spoofing and jamming.” Because spoofing (where communication from an unknown source is disguised as coming from a known and trusted one) at the physical layer is often less well understood by policymakers and regulators than spoofing at the network layer, his project is focused on making the topic more accessible to non-engineers.

We will update you on these exciting projects in the new year. Should you have comments or ideas for our Spectrum Initiative here at Silicon Flatirons, please contact us at Dale.Hatfield@colorado.edu and Pierre.deVries@colorado.edu.

With best wishes,

Pierre de Vries                 Dale Hatfield
Spectrum Initiative Co-directors and Executive Fellows

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