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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Issues for the 113th Congress

Linda K. Moore
Specialist in Telecommunications Policy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a bureau of the Department of Commerce, is the executive branch’s principal advisory office on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. Its mandate is to provide greater access for all Americans to telecommunications services, support U.S. efforts to open foreign markets, advise on international telecommunications negotiations, and fund research for new technologies and their applications. NTIA also manages the distribution of funds for several key grant programs. Its role in managing radio frequency spectrum allocated for federal use includes monitoring and resolving questions regarding usage, causes of interference, and other questions. It shares responsibilities with the Federal Communications Commission to identify federal spectrum that can be transferred to commercial use through the auction of spectrum licenses.

With the passage of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96), in February 2012, Congress has given the NTIA new responsibilities in spectrum management and the support of public safety initiatives. The 113
th Congress may wish to review the NTIA’s performance in meeting its obligations under the act. Many of the NTIA’s responsibilities are shared with other agencies. Policy makers may wish to consider if some of these shared obligations might be effectively and efficiently transferred to its partners, allowing the NTIA to focus on communications policies that are considered by many to be key to future economic growth and development.

Date of Report: January 3, 2013
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R42886
Price: $29.95

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