12B.6 Communications Challenges Abound in 1675–1680 MHz: Balancing Proposed Regulatory Actions, Satellite Meteorology and the Value of Real-Time GOES Information

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 2:45 PM
Room 12B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Renee A. Leduc Clarke, Narayan Strategy, Washington, MA; and J. J. Gerth, B. Kopp, and J. Porter

As the need for radio frequency spectrum for consumer technologies has increased, the demand to consolidate federal spectrum assets has been intense. NOAA's Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) has responded to that demand and worked with NASA to redesign its GOES-R series satellites to adjust their use of spectrum (several years ago) to avoid frequencies auctioned in 2015. Also, NWS shifted and consolidated the spectrum it uses for its radiosonde transmitters. A recent proposal to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by a terrestrial wireless provider has proposed to share spectrum with the GOES Data Collection System (DCS), which relays information in real time from thousands of ground based sensors tracking diverse needs such as river, stream and reservoir levels, tides and wildfires. The wireless provider's signals will also operate adjacent to the GOES Rebroadcast (GRB), the most reliable and complete source of real-time GOES information that users in private weather companies rely upon for immediate weather forecast applications.

Users of GOES real-time information, whether GRB for weather prediction or environmental sensors relayed by DCS, rely heavily today on radio frequency spectrum from 1675-1695 MHz. Some of the experts who use this data daily are fully aware of the importance of spectrum and why unencumbered spectrum is essential to receiving such real time information. But as members of the AMS ad hoc committee on radio frequency allocation have learned in the past 18 months, many of those users who rely on real time GOES information are not aware of the importance of spectrum to these critical information services and how spectrum policy changes can significantly impact data availability and data latency. Our community should ensure that decision makers in the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and other administration and congressional stakeholders understand the weather and water community spectrum needs to counter balance the increased commercial need for spectrum.

This paper will highlight the efforts some members of the AMS ad hoc committee on radio frequency allocation have been engaged in to communicate about the threat of a proposal by a terrestrial wireless provider to share 1675-1680 MHz. These communications have ranged from sharing how meteorologists and hydrologists use satellite information to FCC and other administration officials, to conducting outreach to the broader weather and water enterprise about the potential hazards associated with spectrum sharing in this particular band.

The devastating flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey in coastal Texas showed the crucial need for the GOES DCS system to transmit information from numerous river and stream gages in real time. DCS relayed the information needed for flood control and water release decisions regarding two major reservoirs. Any interference in this data from wireless towers would have been had a severe impact on the Harris County Flood Control District and other emergency management officials. Such an example will be important to highlight in the months to come about the threat of sharing spectrum between 1675-1680 MHz.

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