Roundtable—The Challenges of Radio Spectrum Pollution

Tags: Spectrum Policy / Tech Policy / Technology Policy

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On June 22, 2023, Silicon Flatirons convened a roundtable discussion titled “The Challenges of Radio Spectrum Pollution.” Hosted by DLA Piper in Washington, D.C, the day-long event asked a diverse group of academics, policymakers, spectrum users, and advocates to revisit topics covered in a 2013 Silicon Flatirons Conference including the current state of noise pollution sensing, the effects of electrification and increased IoT devices on the noise floor, and the difficulties of addressing noise pollution with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) existing regulations and enforcement practices. The roundtable followed up on a public conference convened in 2013 by Silicon Flatirons that explored similar issues. The roundtable discussions took place under the “Chatham House Rule.”

The event opened with an hour-long session refreshing participants on the results of the 2013 Conference on radio frequency (RF) noise pollution. As each of the takeaways from the 2013 conference were raised, roundtable participants discussed how changes in technology and spectrum uses have altered how they view the topics. The remainder of the roundtable consisted of a series of four moderated sessions. In each session a presenter opened the discussion with a 15-minute icebreaker about the current state of a key issue relating to noise pollution. The subjects covered included the impacts of radio noise pollution, current research practices, enforcement, and a forward-looking assessment about the noise environment.

This report examines each of these roundtable sessions in a separate section. Each section includes a summary of the presentation that introduced the topic, the following discussion by roundtable participants, and the key themes or takeaways from the session. The conclusion section of this report summarizes common themes across the sessions and offers suggestions for further investigation.

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