National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Issues for the 113th Congress [January 23, 2014] [open pdf - 268KB]
"The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a bureau of the Department of Commerce, is the executive branch's principal advisory office on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. Its mandate is to provide greater access for all Americans to telecommunications services, support U.S. efforts to open foreign markets, advise on international telecommunications negotiations, and fund research for new technologies and their applications. NTIA also manages the distribution of funds for several key grant programs. Its role in managing radio frequency spectrum allocated for federal use includes addressing policies for sharing, and monitoring and resolving questions regarding usage, including causes of interference. It is responsible for identifying federal spectrum that can be transferred to commercial use through the auction of spectrum licenses, conducted by the Federal Communications Commission. Many of the NTIA's responsibilities are shared with other agencies. […] For purposes of oversight, Congress may--for example--choose to examine the efficacy of the NTIA's spectrum management activities, and to evaluate the agency's compliance with the Spectrum Act (P.L. 112-96, Title VI). Oversight might cover requirements of the act regarding the transfer of spectrum from federal to commercial use and the act's provisions for public safety. In particular, the NTIA appears to be impeding the progress of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) by restricting access to funds appropriated by Congress in the Spectrum Act, as well as other actions that have delayed hiring and procurement."
CRS Report for Congress, R42886