A Spectrum of Opportunities for the Agile Contractor
It has been one year since President Obama’s directive to build a 21st Century Government was released. Since then there has been a major shift in how the Federal Government thinks about digital information – treating data as a valuable national asset that should be open and available to the public instead of trapped in government systems. In our June 5th blog, we highlight the opportunities contractors can look to as the government begins to require agencies to, as a default, release all new Federal information in an open and machine readable format.
In conjunction with its efforts to continue to increase the public’s ability to access data, the Obama Administration also announced new initiatives to bolster America’s leadership in wireless broadband and technological innovation. To meet these goals, annual Federal investments in U.S. wireless networks grew from $21 billion in 2009 to $30 billion in 2012. Of course, with more wireless networks comes an increased demand for wireless spectrum. A Presidential Memorandum released on June 14th, now directs Federal agencies to enhance the efficiency of their use of spectrum and make more capacity available to satisfy skyrocketing consumer and business demand. Federal investments of $100 million are expected to be awarded as early as September to (i) fund research and development (“R&D”) for spectrum efficiency in Government system procurement and spectrum assignments, (ii) improve the accuracy and scope of agencies’ reporting on spectrum usage, and (iii) ensure that the appropriate safeguards to protect Government systems that rely on spectrum to keep Americans safe are also in place.
Spectrum R&D and related services to assist agencies with their additional spectrum requirements represent well-funded opportunities for government contractors, particularly in a time when the broader Federal budget outlook is still very much uncertain.