...Federal Communications Commission adopted two satellite-related notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) at its open meeting: “Expanding Access to Broadband and Encouraging Innovation through the Establishment of an Air-Ground Mobile Broadband Secondary Service for Passengers Aboard Aircraft in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band” and “Amendment of Part 2 of the Commission's Rules for Federal Earth Stations Communicating with Non-Federal Fixed Satellite Service Space Stations.”
FCC Chairman Genachowski noted at the meeting that the space industry continues to drive technology innovation and economic growth for the United States. With revenues growing 175 percent in the past decade, the satellite sector is the driving force behind the global commercial space industry.
“SIA is pleased to see the Commission underscore the importance of commercial space and satellites at today’s Open Meeting. The satellite sector contributes 60 percent of the world’s space revenues, allowing us to invest, employ, and lead in innovative space and communications technologies,” said Patricia Cooper, the President of SIA. “SIA and its members will continue to participate actively in both dockets and review the proposals in close detail. We urge the Commission to carefully consider the impact of its regulatory decisions on the satellite sector, which has invested tens of billions of dollars in satellites and earth stations and provides vital services to millions of Americans.”
SIA has significant concerns about and opposes the NPRM to authorize an air-ground mobile broadband service for passengers aboard aircraft as a secondary service in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band (“Ku-band”). SIA has filed with the Commission detailed technical analyses that demonstrate that the proposed air-ground service would cause interference into the satellite services that are primary in that band and are relied upon by media, enterprise, public safety and U.S. military customers for essential services.
These Ku-band satellite services represent extraordinary technical innovation and billions of dollars of investment in both spacecraft and satellite ground systems, generating more than $1 billion in North American revenue annually. SIA’s filings have stressed the importance of not only protecting existing satellite services, but also ensuring that the industry’s ability to continue to innovate is not limited by the proposed secondary service.
SIA’s filings have also shown that the proposed air-ground system will suffer significant interference from existing Ku-band satellite services and will not be able to function as envisioned.
SIA has supported the proposal to amend the Commission's rules for the federal government’s Earth stations that communicate with commercial fixed satellite service space stations. The U.S. government is a key customer of the commercial satellite sector, and SIA has filed in support of steps to allow federal Earth stations to be licensed and operated under the same regulatory framework that applies to non-federal satellite Earth stations. SIA has asked the Commission not insert any new regulatory or approval steps into the current, efficient process for granting non-federal Earth station licenses.