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White House Pushes DARPA Spectrum-Sharing Initiative

Agency to fund compatibility of radar and comms systems

White House operatives are ballyhooing a U.S. Defense Department initiative to fund new spectrum-sharing technologies. Lawrence Strickling of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and Tom Power with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, say the effort will “boost” the president’s goal to deploy high-speed wireless broadband across the country.

“Spectrum sharing can take a number of forms, some of which are technologically mature and others of which are still developing,” they co-wrote on the NTIA and the White House tech blog sites. “To stimulate investment in more advanced forms of spectrum sharing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is soliciting innovative research proposals aimed at efficient and reliable sharing of spectrum between radar and communications systems.”

DARPA published a presolicitation notice on the program Feb. 21: “Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice.”

Among those on the “Interested Vendors List,” are Photonics Systems of Billerica, Mass.; Shared Spectrum Co., of Vienna, Va.; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of Blacksburg, Va.; North Point Defense, of Rome, N.y.; Tennessee Technical University of Cookeville, Tenn.; and Comsearch Government Solutions of Ashburn, Va.

The program may fund multi-year projects to either modify existing radar systems or come up with new ones.

“Sharing is just one tool for promoting more robust and efficient broadband networks; full maximization of spectrum may also require broader policy and regulatory changes,” wrote Strickling and Power, both of whom have been mentioned as potential candidates to take over the Federal Communications Commission when Julius Genachowski steps down, which as of yet remains conjecture.

— TV Technology