Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
the research laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

ITS: The Nation’s Spectrum and Communications Lab

Our mission is to ADVANCE innovation in communications technologies, INFORM spectrum and communications policy for the benefit of all stakeholders, and INVESTIGATE our Nation’s most pressing telecommunications challenges through research that employees are proud to deliver. Learn more about ITS on our YouTube Channel or read about our research programs in the Technical Progress Report.


August 18, 2020

Presentations from the ISART 2020, the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies: 5G Spectrum and a Zero-Trust Network are now available on the ...

April 2, 2020

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, signed into law on January 14, 2019, requires federal agencies to publish their information online as open data, using standardized, machine-readable...

May 9, 2019

ITS has a long history of leadership in air-to-ground propagation model development within the International Telecommunications Union – Radiocommunication Sector’s (ITU-R) Study Group 3 – Radiowave Propagation (and its...

March 10, 2019

How can we get more use out of the radio spectrum? One way is by sharing radio bands between users who have never shared before. Consider radio frequencies near 3.5 GHz. Until recently, that part of the spectrum was...

November 26, 2018

Behind every initiative to share spectrum are models of how radio waves in a particular band propagate through different environments. How far will a signal travel before it becomes too faint to be useful or...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

April 1939: First Television Appearance by a U.S. President

On April 30, 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the first appearance on television by a sitting president. Roosevelt had already become a regular visitor to citizen’s living rooms through his extensive use of radio. During his presidency he made 27 radio speeches that became known as “fireside chats” because of their informal nature. Roosevelt’s first televised speech opened the 1939 World’s Fair in New York on the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. Roosevelt’s words emphasized the unity of the nation and the scientific and cultural progress that had been made since Washington was in office. Televising the president’s address was a sign that the country was embracing the very new medium, despite the rarity of household television sets. World War II interrupted television development, but following the war, television production exploded. By 1950, 1 in 10 Americans owned a television, and they were installed in bars around the country. ITS’s predecessor, the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL), was instrumental in researching the use of the VHF band in which television was broadcast. As television broadcasting increased in the 1950s, so did CRPL’s research into VHF antennas and propagation. CRPL also worked to understand the UHF frequencies that television eventually expanded into. CRPL’s work supported new television technologies and increased use of the medium. ITS's current work in quality assessment of video and audio transmission supports the mobile streaming technologies that are challenging the television industry for market share.