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

What We Do

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is the research and engineering laboratory of NTIA. We perform advanced communications research to inform spectrum policy and develop capabilities to solve emerging telecommunications issues. We serve as a principal Federal resource for solving the telecommunications concerns of other Federal agencies, state and local Governments, industry, and international organizations. We work to continually advance the state of the art in radio frequency (RF) propagation measurement, RF propagation modeling, spectrum monitoring and enforcement, electromagnetic compatibility analysis, interference mitigation strategies, evaluation of end-user experience, and engineering analysis of evolving technologies to manage and share spectrum efficiently. Learn more about ITS on our YouTube Channel or read about our research programs in the FY 2017 Technical Progress Report.

ITS is Hiring!

We are looking for Student Interns in Computer Science (ZP-1599-1/2) to join our research team in  Boulder, CO. The announcement opened March 15, 2019 and closes March 25, 2019. To view the vacancy please use the following direct link: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/527638000.

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...

August 7, 2018

The record attendance (nearly 170 experts from government, academia, and industry) at the 17th International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies (ISART) demonstrated the deep interest in the problem of modeling...

April 24, 2018

As demand for spectrum for commercial use continues to grow, policymakers are exploring spectrum sharing as a way to expand capacity while still fulfilling the needs of federal agencies. This model can work only if rules...

February 23, 2018

The Radio Act of 1912 dictated perhaps the first spectrum efficiency requirement when it said that “In all circumstances, except in case of signals or radiograms relating to vessels in distress, all stations shall...

February 6, 2018

Spectrum monitoring—long-term continuous measurement of the radio frequency environment from multiple sensors—is widely seen as essential to enabling increased exploitation of spectrum. Monitoring is expected be the...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

March 28, 1978: NTIA Established

In 1978 President Carter drafted Reorganization Plan No. 1 to reduce the staff of the Executive Office by about 15%. A portion of the cuts came from eliminating the Office of Telecommunications Policy (OTP), and shifting its responsibilities to the Commerce Department. The order went into effect on March 28th, implemented by Executive Order 12046. The Executive Order only laid out the structure of Executive Office agencies. The Commerce Secretary created the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) from the Office of Telecommunications (OT). The functions transferred from OTP to Commerce included the President's authority to assign frequencies to radio stations belonging to the United States, carry out radio spectrum management, and conduct long-range spectrum planning in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission. The reorganization also transferred functions related to telecommunications planning and the communications satellite system. ITS, which had been an institute in OT, became the research and engineering arm of NTIA. The new structure wasn’t finalized for some time. NTIA operated for 14 years on the authority of Carter’s reorganization and executive order, until Congress passed the NTIA Organization Act of 1992, which codified NTIA's authority and incorporated its organizational structure, including ITS. ITS was designated as a research office, separated from NTIA’s policy makers to protect the independence of its research. ITS is not a regulatory office, so it can work closely with technology and telecommunications companies without conflicts of interest. ITS is also authorized to enter into interagency agreements to assist other federal agencies with telecommunication issues.