The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to launch a notice of inquiry to better understand non-Federal spectrum usage and identify new data sources and emerging technologies – such as AI – to accomplish that task in a cost-effective way.

In an Aug. 3 press release, the agency said the inquiry will explore effective spectrum management and identify new opportunities for innovation.

“As the radiofrequency environment becomes more congested, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence to understand spectrum usage and draw insights from large and complex datasets can help facilitate more efficient spectrum use, including new spectrum sharing techniques and approaches to enable co-existence among users and services,” the FCC said.

The notice seeks comment on best practices, operational considerations, and technical parameters when it comes to commercial spectrum use. It also wants information on the “practical, technical, and legal considerations associated with any potential study of spectrum usage.”

In a statement prior to the FCC’s vote, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel noted that the inquiry will help to understand AI’s potential and ensure it develops in the United States first – starting with spectrum utilization.

“Let me put my cards on the table: I am much more hopeful about AI than pessimistic,” Rosenworcel said in the Aug. 3 statement. “I believe we can do more to increase our understanding of spectrum utilization and support the development of AI tools in wireless networks. That is what today’s inquiry is all about.”

The FCC often uses notices of inquiry as fact-gathering proceedings, which may or may not lead to more formal rulemaking proceedings down the road.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.