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

February 2012: FirstNet Established

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, signed into law on February 22, 2012, included a section on Public Safety Communications and Electromagnetic Spectrum Auctions (Title VI of Public Law 112–96, codified at 47 U.S.C. §1401 ff.). The law a) established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within the NTIA, b) directed the FCC to license the 700 MHz D block exclusively to FirstNet for an initial term of 10 years, and c) directed FirstNet to establish in that frequency an interoperable nationwide public safety broadband network based on a single, national network architecture. During the emergency response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (“the 9/11 attack”), responding public safety agencies were greatly hampered by the inadequacy of their communications systems and the inability of systems used by different jurisdictions to interoperate. Improving public safety communications systems has been a primary focus of ITS research throughout its history. In the 1990s, ITS researchers worked with Federal, state, and local agencies and industry to define foundational public safety communication standards for an interoperable wireless land mobile digital radio public safety communication system—the P25 Standard. In the 2000s, ITS efforts were expanded to further advance the P25 goal as a user-driven process for efficient use of limited spectrum resources while providing essential and reliable push-to-talk features and ITS helped establish the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program to accelerate the development of advanced broadband communication technologies. More recently, ITS efforts strongly supported completion by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) of initial broadband wireless mission critical standards. The realization in 2018 of FirstNet’s initial operational capabilities in conjunction with continuing wide use of P25 systems attests to the strong positive contributions ITS has made to accelerate global deployment of efficient and effective narrowband and broadband wireless communication systems to satisfy evolving public safety community needs.