September 5, 2022
NIST releases advanced communication technologies standards report
NIST released an interagency report on Advanced Communication Technologies Standards that provides a guide to the standards priorities and activities of Federal agencies with interests in communications technologies.
The Interagency Advanced Communications Technology Working Group, (ACTWG) comprises 18 Federal agencies including the National Institute of Standards (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Departments of State (DOS) and Defense (DOD), and others. These agencies are working together to promote effective and consistent Federal policies in communications standards, identify shared standards goals and priorities, and respond to requests for information on Federal communications standards activities.
Communications standards are created to enable you to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Adopted comprehensively, communications standards enable connectivity and serve as the infrastructure for innovation, a critical component in bringing technologies from the lab to market for a vibrant global economy. Without broad adoption, standards can unduly advantage one sector or nation at the expense of others. The United States Standards Strategy focuses on voluntary consensus standards that promote innovation and provide a level playing field for all in a globally competitive economy.
While the private sector is best positioned to lead on standards, Federal agencies are both important adopters and technical contributors in standards development. To be effective in these roles, agencies must do two things. First, they must coordinate with one another, so they aren't duplicating effort or working to cross purposes. Second, they must communicate clearly with private sector standards leaders in a unified voice. The ACTWG and its report are focused squarely on these two goals.
The first portion of the report provides an overview and identifies strategic standards priority areas, including the Internet of Things, security and privacy for communications, quality assurance for critical infrastructure communications, and emerging technologies such as quantum communications. The second portion sets out key Federal agencies' communications standards goals and priorities, identifies specific focus areas and provides examples of current standards-related activities.
Building on the report's findings, Federal agencies are now working with industry to identify key standards gaps and opportunities in each strategic priority area. By advancing standards that promote innovation, the Working Group seeks to enable next-generation communications that catalyze progress across all sectors of our society.