The Importance of Radio Spectrum.

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The radio spectrum is the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In the United States, regulatory responsibility for the radio spectrum is divided between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The FCC, which is an independent regulatory agency, administers spectrum for non-Federal use (i.e., state, local government, commercial, private internal business, and personal use) and the NTIA, which is an operating unit of the Department of Commerce, administers spectrum for Federal use (e.g., use by the Army, the FAA, and the FBI). Within the FCC, the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) provides advice on technical and policy issues pertaining to spectrum allocation and use.

Currently only frequency bands between 9 kHz and 275 GHz have been allocated (i.e., designated for use by one or more terrestrial or space radio-communication services or the radio astronomy service under specified conditions).

OET maintains the FCC’s Table of Frequency Allocations, which is a compilation of allocations.

The FCC’s Table of Frequency Allocations consists of the International Table of Frequency Allocations (“International Table”) and the United States Table of Frequency Allocations (“United States Table”). The FCC’s Table of Frequency Allocations is codified at Section 2.106 of the Commission’s Rules. (content credit: Bureau/Office: Engineering & Technology,/

For a more detailed description click to view Allocations Chart here.



Electromagnetic Spectrum: The electromagnetic spectrum, showing the major categories of electromagnetic waves. The range of frequencies and wavelengths is remarkable. The dividing line between some categories is distinct, whereas other categories overlap. Microwaves encompass the high frequency portion of the radio section of the EM spectrum.

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