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GAO: FCC, NTIA Should Clarify Processes to Better Coordinate on Spectrum Management

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) develop clearly defined processes and update documents to facilitate coordination on spectrum management

GAO said in a report published Monday that are no clear processes for addressing matters when agencies cannot reach an agreement on issues related to spectrum management.

The FCC and NTIA regulate use of radio frequency spectrum to prevent potential interference and coordinate with other agencies through interagency groups and agreements. 

GAO evaluated collaborative mechanisms for spectrum management against leading collaboration practices and found that agencies' collaborative activities did not fully reflect the practices of clarifying roles and responsibilities, developing written guidance and agreements and defining outcomes and monitoring accountability.

The congressional watchdog assessed the country’s participation in the International Telecommunication Union's World Radiocommunication Conferences and found that the lack of updated documents guiding agencies’ coordination efforts when it comes to developing U.S. positions also affected collaboration.

“For example, disputes among the agencies and the inability to reach agreement on U.S. technical contributions challenged the U.S.'s ability to present an agreed-upon basis for decisions or a unified position,” the report reads.