Dale Hatfield
Dale Hatfield - 2008 Industry Achievement Award

Professor Dale Hatfield currently is an independent consultant and an adjunct professor in the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program at the University of Colorado-Boulder. While Professor Hatfield is best known as an outstanding teacher of telecommunications technology and its policy implications, he similarly enjoys a stellar reputation for his commitment to public service, intellectual honesty, and fair-mindedness. Hatfield has influenced public policy in the telecommunications industry for four decades, both in the public and private sectors, and more particularly in the area of spectrum policy. His government service includes senior policymaking roles at the Office of Telecommunications Policy in the Executive Office of the President, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Through his initiatives at the FCC, and in recent academic endeavors, Dale Hatfield has made significant contributions to the development, furtherance and acceptance of Software Radio and Cognitive Radio Technology.

During his tenure as Chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, Dale launched the Software Defined Radio (SDR) and secondary markets rulemaking proceedings. At the 19th General Meeting of the SDR Forum held in June 2000 in Seattle, he delivered a keynote address in which he discussed the high level of interest in SDR technology at the FCC, much of which he had fostered, and the potential impact of SDR on how the Commission manages the spectrum resource. In his remarks – as well as in for a speech he helped draft for then-FCC Chairman Bill Kennard to deliver to the cellular industry – Dale emphasized how SDR technology would help regulators deal with the predicted “spectrum drought” as a result of the “exploding demand” for access to that resource that could constrain the future growth in wireless services. He went on to describe the idea of secondary spectrum markets and how SDR could play a major role in enabling secondary markets by providing flexibility and reducing the cost and time of deploying radio equipment in underutilized spectrum.

A summary of Dale Hatfield’s leadership at the FCC, illustrating his key contributions to SDR and Cognitive Radio (CR) include the following:

  • Drafted Chairman Kennard CTIA Speech on Secondary Markets, SDR and Spectrum Sharing (February 2000)
  • Launched SDR Notice of Inquiry (March 2000)
  • Held Secondary Markets Public Forum (May 2000)
  • Oversaw the designation of first Telecom Certification Bodies (June 2000)
  • Launched Secondary Markets Proceeding with Policy Statement and NPRM (November 2000)
  • Issued SDR Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (December 2000)

Much has happened on the regulatory front and in the technology arena since Professor Hatfield and the FCC launched the SDR and secondary markets proceedings. He continues to have a major influence through his consulting, teaching and writing in the areas of “Smart Radios,” public safety communications and spectrum policy generally.

Professor Hatfield currently serves as Chairman of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Spectrum Management Advisory Committee and is on the Board of Directors of Crown Castle International. He has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career including: the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for contributions to domestic communications satellite policy (1973); the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award (1999); the Eugene C. Bowler award for exceptional professionalism and dedication in government service (1999); the FCC’s Gold Medal Award for distinguished service (1999); the Distinguished Engineer award from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2001); election to the Wireless Hall of Fame (2003); and Fellow, Radio Club of America. He received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Colorado in May 2008.

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