The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC) provides technical advice to the FCC. The TAC is organized under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The current TAC, which is the FCC’s 5th Technological Advisory Council, was formed on October 21, 2010. The TAC is comprised of a diverse array of leading experts that helps the FCC identify important areas of innovation and develop informed technology policies supporting America’s competitiveness and job creation in the global economy.
The TAC is comprised of five working groups:
- Spectrum Frontiers
- Expanding Wireless COTS
- Spectrum and Receiver Performance
- Resiliency in a Broadband Network
- Communications Infrastructure Security
- Identify spectrum bands have the potential to become the new “beachfronts”
- Assess technical or policy changes that will be needed to make this realizable
- Project timeframes for realization
Expanding Wireless Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS)
- Examine how the multibillion dollar investment in commercial broadband systems and products may better be leveraged to support “mission critical” vertical uses
- Identify major challenges in supporting QOS, reliability, security, cybersecurity and other issues that such applications require
- Identify technical evolution required to broaden the use of current and evolving infrastructure
- Determine policy initiatives to leverage utilization of existing wireless infrastructure
Spectrum and Receiver Performance
- Provide support as the Commission considers the TAC recommendations on Interference Limits Policy and related implementation issues
- Make recommendations towards improving access to and the efficient use of the radio spectrum. Areas to be evaluated include:
- Emerging technologies that offer improved interference rejection
- New interference cancellation technologies
- Software defined radio technology that may be more immune to interference from future services
- Methods for analyzing interference risk on a statistical basis as opposed to worst case assumptions
- Evaluation of the noise floor, its impact and steps the FCC might take to improve it
Resiliency in a Broadband Network
- Examine what the goals should be for a resilient communications infrastructure
- Determine the implications of different categories of services (e.g. normal voice traffic, 911, M2M, etc.) in a resilient environment
- Identify what should be the goals for portability of service capabilities during emergencies
- Determine what capabilities will be required to leverage network services to best support the needs of the public and public safety during a crisis
Communications Infrastructure Security
- In an emerging era where consumers and business will rely upon cloud services for critical functions, determine the key areas of concern for security
- Determine how best to develop awareness of these issues and ensure that the ongoing evolution incorporates industry best practices, ensuring adequate protection for key services
- December 9, 2013 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- September 23, 2013 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- June 13, 2013 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- June 10, 2013 - Office of Engineering and Technology Extends Comment Period for Technological Advisory Council (TAC) White Paper and Recommendations for Improving Receiver Performance.
- March 11, 2013 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- February 6, 2012 - Receivers & Spectrum Working Group White Paper
- Interference Limits Policy -- The use of harm claim thresholds to improve the interference tolerance of wireless systems Version 1.0 [Acrobat]
- December 10, 2012 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- View the meeting video for the December 10th 2012 TAC meeting: [Video]
- Summary of meeting [Acrobat]
- Download the meeting presentation [Acrobat]
- Download the Agenda [Acrobat]
- Download the Longer Term Anti-Malware Recommendations [Acrobat]
- Download the Consumer Education Recommendations [Acrobat]
- Download the Wi-Fi Hotspot Security Recommendations [Acrobat]
- September 24, 2012 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- June 27, 2012 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC) [Acrobat]
- May 9, 2012 - TAC work group VI questions. [Acrobat]
- May 9, 2012 - TAC work group VI descriptions and potential member assignment. [Acrobat]
- March 20, 2012 - FCC Announces the next Technological Advisory Committee Meeting on March 28, 2012. [Acrobat]
On April 22, 2011, the TAC submitted to FCC Chairman Genachowski a Technological Advisory Council Chairman’s Report that included eight recommendations based on the working groups efforts for near term opportunities for promoting innovation, competition, and job creation in the technology sector. The report noted that each recommendation is an opportunity for the FCC to unleash new private sector innovation and job creation, without working through traditional regulatory processes. By acting on these recommendations, the TAC stated that the FCC can promote competition, foster industry best practices, and encourage executive action in order to help innovators, small businesses, and local governments pursue new economic development and job growth.
Recommendations – Technological Advisory Council Chairman’s Report (April 22, 2011)
- Municipal Race-to-the-Top program. The FCC should sponsor a Race-to-the-Top-style awards/recognition program to identify a list of cities with the best practices in terms of broadband infrastructure deployment. The “Broadband City USA” contest could provide top rankings for cities and towns based on being the most broadband-friendly in terms of infrastructure planning, accommodation, and permitting/approvals processes. Cities and towns would have an incentive to compete for this designation, making it a tool to further new investment and economic development. The FCC could also use this program as an opportunity to highlight a host of best identified practices for broadband infrastructure deployment, including model city “rights of way” codes.
- Broadband Infrastructure Executive Order. The FCC should formally request that the President issue an Executive Order on broadband infrastructure deployment on federal land and in federal buildings. The Executive Order would mandate the following for Federal rights of way and antenna siting approvals:
*Single document format for permitting
*Single federal agency to coordinate the permit approval process
*Sixty day time frame for approvals
Such an Executive Order would place the Federal government in a position to advance network deployment and resiliency in communities with Federal buildings, especially urban areas where network congestion is most acute. In addition, this Executive Order could advance the development of micro cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS), and other innovative broadband infrastructure, demonstrating a path for growth in this market.
- Advocacy for Rapid Tower Siting. The FCC should propose that states and municipalities employ a shortened “shot clock” for co-locations on existing structures or permit co-location “by right” - absent special circumstances. The TAC has identified several impediments to tower siting processes which could be overcome through updates to state and local procedures, including:
*Inconsistent and non-concurrent time frames for environmental assessments
*Redundant requirements for co-location applications
*Repetitive rejection of incomplete applications without identification of deficiencies
Expediting the process for tower siting could have an important impact on the development of local broadband access in communities, boosting their marketability to new employers and network access for local entrepreneurs. If states and municipalities do not agree to expedite co-location approvals, the Commission should express its willingness to proceed with a new, shorter “shot clock” rule for co-locations.
- Best Practices/Technology Outreach to State and Local Governments. The FCC should begin a dialogue with states and municipalities about proven new technologies for efficiently deploying broadband (e.g., micro-trenching, DAS equipment on city light poles, directional boring). The Commission should host a “road show” or series of workshops highlighting best identified practices with new technologies. This road show, in combination with leadership on the federal level through the Executive Order (See recommendation #1), can help accelerate the development of this new market for network infrastructure.
- Model an Online Deployment Coordination System. The TAC believes that timely access to underground facilities has a direct bearing on infrastructure costs and deployment. The FCC should develop a “white label,” web-based communication tool that can be adopted and labeled as their own by localities to provide advance notification of planned infrastructure projects. Such a web-based capacity would allow all those who must excavate rights-of-way to coordinate openings (i.e., “dig once”) and thus speed deployment and reduce costs and civic disruption. Any state or municipality could voluntarily use the FCC model to implement its own “reverse one-call” system to provide notification of new infrastructure projects.
- New Metrics to Measure Broadband Network Quality. The TAC believes that, for some usage models, developing metrics beyond throughput speed to measure the quality of Internet Protocol (IP) broadband networks is important for helping the IP ecosystem flourish by enabling "extended" quality standards that can support the subset of applications that require not only fast, but precise, timely and reliable broadband networks. Simply measuring broadband networks by throughput speed does not provide a full picture nor set sufficient performance parameters to support uses with "extended" quality requirements such as healthcare monitoring, emergency services, alarms, etc. Although network services that meet such extended criteria may not be offered by all service providers, or included in all service plans, it would be beneficial to have common metrics for them.
Additionally, in transitioning to IP based networks the TAC will be identifying how reliability can be characterized in a multi-modal environment -where reliability is provided by having many alternate paths, means and/or modes of communications. The FCC should initiate the steps necessary for determining how this aspect of the transition will impact the basic architecture of emergency services.
- Highlight Stranded PSTN Investments. Network providers have huge investments in existing PSTN infrastructure including copper wire, switches, pole space, and software. Although new information services are designed for IP networks, many homes and businesses still use devices that depend on specific characteristics of the PSTN (e.g., auto-dialers, alarm systems, ATMs, PoS terminals). These services and devices will have to be replaced and the accompanying construction and inspection "codes" revised. The TAC will be creating an inventory of such services. We would recommend that the FCC highlight this concern and initiate a public dialogue so that the technology and know-how for replacing such services is widely disseminated.
The TAC in the coming months will conduct a further technical analysis of the potential short term, and low cost transitions of this legacy infrastructure, including new, IP-enabled devices and the use of traditional copper lines for high speed, high quality broadband.
- Promote Small Cell Deployment. Small cell deployments have the ability to greatly increase spectral efficiency to meet demands of increasing teledensity. The FCC, with the participation of other relevant agencies (e.g., General Services Administration) should convene an industry-led group (e.g., providers, vendors, standards groups, and building owners) to discuss ways to accelerate the deployment of small cell wireless devices (i.e., femtocells, DAS, Wi-Fi) in commercial and government buildings and other high teledensity venues. Accelerating this deployment would meet growing market demand for mobile broadband in dense, urban areas and potentially create new employment for design, installation, and operation of wireless systems.
Two ideas in particular that should be explored: (1) development of “universal architectures” for picocells, femtocells, etc., perhaps leveraging convergence around LTE, so that multiple providers using multiple spectrum bands could be served from a single device; and (2) creation of a new “small cell band” spectrum allocation, conceptually a hybrid between licensed and unlicensed spectrum, in which property owners and/or mobile broadband providers would have the ability to freely deploy networks to offload broadband services from other networks with assurances of interference protection from neighboring users.
- December 20, 2011 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC)
- November 2, 2011 - FCC Announces Technological Advisory Council Meeting. [Acrobat]
- October 25, 2011 - Forum on indoor deployments of small cell sites [Acrobat]
- September 27, 2011 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC)
- View the meeting video for the September 27th TAC meeting. [Video]
- Summary of meeting [Word]
- Download the meeting presentation [PowerPoint]
- Document - Sun-setting the PSTN [Word]
- Document - IPv6 Working Group Benchmarking Recommendations [Word]
- Document - TAC IPV6 Concepts [Word]
- Document - Spectrum Efficiency Metrics [Word]
- September 12, 2011 - FCC announces Technological Advisory Council meeting [Acrobat]
- June 29, 2011 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC)
- June 8, 2011 - FCC announces reestablishment of the Technological Advisory Council [Acrobat]
- April 22, 2011 - Report of the Technological Advisory Council to the FCC Chairman [Acrobat]
- March 30, 2011 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC)
- March 8, 2011 - Public Notice - Announcing Next Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council [Acrobat]
- February 15, 2011 - News Release - FCC names six distinguished members to its Technical Advisory Council [Acrobat]
- November 4, 2010 - Meeting of the Technological Advisory Council (TAC)
- October 25, 2010 - Public Notice - Announcing Formation of the Technological Advisory Council [Acrobat]
- October 21, 2010 - News Release - Announcing Formation of the Technological Advisory Council [Acrobat]