FCC unveils proposed satellite direct-to-device regulatory framework

TAMPA, Fla. — The U.S. Federal Communications Fee unveiled its proposed framework March 17 for regulating the usage of terrestrial wi-fi spectrum from area for connecting smartphones past the attain of cell towers.

The framework would set up floor guidelines for SpaceX, AST SpaceMobile, Lynk International, and different satellite tv for pc corporations in search of permission to offer direct-to-device providers with spectrum from terrestrial cellular companions. 

A Discover of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the framework was authorized by all 4 of the FCC’s commissioners March 16.

“There are challenges with entry to airwaves, frequencies that aren’t all globally aligned, potentialities for interference that should be managed, and requirements work that would assist develop these capabilities,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel mentioned in a press release.

“However what is obvious is that with the rising curiosity within the potentialities of convergence of satellite tv for pc and terrestrial providers, an ad-hoc, case-by-case method to those new ventures isn’t sufficient.”

The regulator mentioned it is going to provoke a 30-day public remark interval as soon as the NPRM is printed within the Federal Register at an undefined date, with reply feedback due 30 days after that.

An preliminary draft of the NPRM for what the FCC calls “Supplemental Protection from Area” (SCS) was initially circulated Feb. 23.

This preliminary draft proposed to restrict direct-to-device SCS providers to spectrum bands the place a single cellular operator has contiguous rights, and to exclude the 700 MHz band that AT&T makes use of to attach first responders underneath its FirstNet service.

AT&T, which has partnered with satellite tv for pc direct-to-device startup AST SpaceMobile, mentioned this was “unnecessarily restrictive” and referred to as on the FCC to develop the framework.

Whereas the newest model of the NPRM nonetheless focuses on giant areas of contiguous spectrum, it was revised to additionally account for different potentialities. 

The spectrum AT&T makes use of for FirstNet can also be now being contemplated as probably a part of the framework.

Shifting with pace

FCC commissioner Nathan Simington mentioned March 16 that, whereas you will need to good a brand new regulatory mannequin for this rising market, it should not get in the way in which of approving direct-to-device purposes that the regulator is already processing.

“The FCC should guarantee these waiver purposes transfer ahead at a speedy clip to keep away from thwarting enterprise plans and future innovation,” Simington mentioned.

AST SpaceMobile chief technique officer Scott Wisniewski described the framework as “a very good first step,” and mentioned he’s inspired by the FCC’s intentions to “transfer with pace.” 

Lynk International CEO Charles Miller additionally welcomed the proposed framework.

“This FCC motion units the trail for Lynk to accumulate touchdown rights within the US by way of a cellular community operator,” Miller mentioned by way of e-mail.

SpaceX, which has partnered with T-Cellular in the US and Salt in Switzerland, recently outlined plans to begin testing direct-to-device providers this yr.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *