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.


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...

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...

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.