2022 Spectrum Policy Initiative Conference

Tags: Initiatives / Spectrum Policy / Tech Policy / Technology Policy / Telecom & Platforms

Resolving Interference Conflicts among “Highest and Best” Uses of the Radio Spectrum


Radio spectrum allocation and policy battles often result in extended and recurring fights among competing, incompatible uses and users. Stakeholders employ all sorts of tactics to demonstrate to policymakers how their service or technology reflects the “highest and best” use of scarce spectrum resources whether such uses are, to name a few, for: commercial mobile and fixed wireless broadband services (licensed and unlicensed); national security and defense; public safety and law enforcement; global satellite communications; or scientific purposes. A frequent area of dispute often centers around allegations of “harmful interference” between competing new and incumbent uses. Many of these allegations point to faulty, inefficient, or unregulated receiver technology as a core problem. Others blame ineffective domestic and international institutional and governance regimes for making sound spectrum policy decisions.

In light of a new FCC inquiry into receiver performance (driven in part by prior Silicon Flatiron efforts) and national headlines surrounding such allegations involving, for example, interference between existing aircraft radar altimeters and new 5G services in “C-Band” spectrum, the conference will explore the policy, legal, institutional, technical, economic, and social conflicts that may arise when multiple interests collide over access to spectrum resources. Keynote speeches, panel discussions, and breakout sessions will produce a lively, professional debate among key experts and stakeholders that have been on the front lines of these spectrum battlefields and the quest for improved receiver performance.

On March 21, 2022, Silicon Flatirons convened an invitation-only roundtable in Washington DC to discuss the state of interference resolution policy, identify areas for attention, and suggest possible solutions. The roundtable report identifies several key themes and findings from the discussions that inform our agenda. Following up on the roundtable discussion, the fall spectrum conference will take a deeper dive into the prevalent tensions that characterize interference disputes, how they came about, why they have been exacerbated, what could have been done to prevent them, what technologies or standards may help resolve recurring issues, and what realistic and actionable solutions should be pursued.


In addition to a pre-conference primer on October 6, the conference will stretch over portions of two consecutive days, October 7–8, 2022, and will consist of two keynote speeches by industry or government leaders in the field, four moderated panel discussions, and *two focused breakout groups tasked with developing actionable recommendations. An after-conference report will be prepared by students of the University of Colorado.
*Breakout sessions will not be livestreamed, as participants will agree to candidly engage under the “Chatham House Rule”. Media are welcome to attend breakout sessions in-person, however all comments made by participants during said sessions will be considered off the record.

Sessions

10/06/22 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Pre-Conference Primer: Spectrum Sharing and Interference Resolution

@ Wolf Law Building, Garden Level Conference Room 1B06

  • David Reed — Presenter
    Senior Fellow, Spectrum Policy Initiative, Silicon Flatirons
10/07/22 9:00am - 9:10am
Day One Welcome & Introduction

@ Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom

  • Keith Gremban
    Spectrum Policy Initiative Co-director, Silicon Flatirons
10/07/22 9:10am - 9:45am
Keynote

The first keynote speaker of the conference will be a high-level U.S. government policy maker who has been engaged in recent and ongoing spectrum access and interference disputes and related efforts.

10/07/22 9:45am - 10:00am
Break

10/07/22 10:00am - 11:00am
Root Causes of Interference Conflicts
  • David Redl — Moderator
    Founder and CEO, Salt Point Strategies

Panelists will focus on common triggers and pervasive issues from policy, legal, institutional, and societal perspectives, including discussions of topics such as (a) the history and purpose behind the dual framework for spectrum management in the U.S., (b) recent and ongoing interference disputes, (c) outcomes and potential resolutions, and (d) other ways of addressing the root causes of such conflicts including policy options related to receiver performance concerns.

10/07/22 11:00am - 11:15am
Break

10/07/22 11:15am - 12:15pm
Technical, Economic and Regulatory Solutions to Interference Conflicts
  • Nick Laneman — Moderator
    Executive Director, SpectrumX, University of Notre Dame

Panelists will delve into proposed engineering, market-oriented, and regulatory options for resolving recurring disputes and discuss topics such as (a) identifying and improving availability of timely and relevant technical information, (b) ensuring scientific integrity and use of good engineering practices, (c) assessing costs and benefits of technical standards and other options related to receiver performance, (d) exploring negotiated approaches and bargaining opportunities, and (e) other ways of developing acceptable interference protection criteria and compatibility assessments.

10/07/22 12:15pm - 1:15pm
Lunch Break

10/07/22 1:15pm - 4:30pm
Breakout Sessions

After lunch, two concurrent breakout discussions will take place, giving interested and informed community members and experts in the spectrum policy space a fuller opportunity to *candidly engage (under the “Chatham House Rule”) and develop recommended actionable solutions. The discussions will be facilitated by panel moderators David Redl and Nick Laneman, with assistance from CU students and Silicon Flatirons fellows.

*Breakout sessions will not be livestreamed. Media are welcome to attend breakout sessions in-person, however all comments made by participants during said sessions will be considered off the record.
10/08/22 9:00am - 9:10am
Day Two Welcome & Introduction

@ Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom

  • Keith Gremban
    Spectrum Policy Initiative Co-director, Silicon Flatirons
10/08/22 9:10am - 9:45am
Day Two Keynote
  • Tom Rondeau
    Program Manager, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
10/08/22 9:45am - 10:00am
Break

10/08/22 10:00am - 11:00am
Recommendations Outbriefs
  • Nick Laneman — Presenter
    Executive Director, SpectrumX, University of Notre Dame
  • David Redl — Presenter
    Founder and CEO, Salt Point Strategies
  • Moderator — TBA

The two breakout group facilitators from day one (with assistance from their student rapporteurs) will report out from the breakout sessions on the 2–3 recommended actions or next steps that their groups developed.

10/08/22 11:00am - 11:15am
Break

10/08/22 11:15am - 12:15pm
Conference Wrap-Up

Closing session of the conference. The participants from the day one breakout sessions and the two breakout facilitators will react, respond, expand upon, clarify, dissent from, and/or comment on the suggested recommendations presented during the previous panel.

10/08/22 12:15pm
Thank You and Closing
  • Keith Gremban
    Spectrum Policy Initiative Co-director, Silicon Flatirons

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