The spectrum will be in two parts, with 45MHz from the 1710MHz to 1755MHz band now used by government agencies including the US Department of Defence (DOD), and 45MHz from the 2110MHz to 2170MHz band, used by non-government users, the NTIA said.
A third block of spectrum, the 1755MHz to 1770MHz band, was also part of the assessment but it was decided that there would be difficulties in sharing the spectrum with incumbent defence systems, or in moving those defence systems elsewhere.
The spectrum will not be available until existing users have been moved elsewhere. The DOD will relocate by no later than December 2008, the NTIA said. The cost of the move will be paid by the private entities taking up the spectrum.
The decision is the result of a 3G Viability Assessment conducted by the NTIA, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the DOD and other agencies.
The NTIA has also been asked to continue working with the FCC to make more spectrum available by the end of the decade and to continue its efforts to find more unlicensed spectrum for broadband and other "high-technology" purposes.