Press Release

Probabilistic Interference Assessments in Spectrum Policy

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has traditionally relied upon worst-case scenario analysis to determine whether new entrants will cause harmful interference to incumbent radio operators. In a new insight, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jeffrey Westling explains how the FCC’s recent model to consider entrants—probabilistic interference analysis—provides a better model of risk assessment than its traditional worst-case analysis.

Key points:

  • Increased congestion of radio operations has made this traditional model of interference assessment untenable as it often forecloses the possibility of new entrants regardless of the actual risk of harmful interference.
  • The FCC has begun to use probabilistic assessments to evaluate interference risks, and the courts have largely approved this approach.
  • The FCC should continue to rely on probabilistic analysis in new bands to better evaluate the relative risks of harmful interference and the potential impacts that such interference will have on incumbent operations.

Read the analysis