FCC to form Space Bureau as role in orbit regulation intensifies

FCC to form Space Bureau as role in orbit regulation intensifies

FCC to form Space Bureau as role in orbit regulation intensifies

The Federal Communications Commission regulates many industries and practices related to telecommunications and the Internet, but it is now solidifying its role as regulator of the space by voting to create an all-new office specializing in the subject.

Bureaus are the divisions of the agency that manage different areas of the industry: media, wireless, consumer, etc., as well as law enforcement, etc. They are full of specialists who research and produce the rules and notices promulgated by the FCC.

The new Space Office will handle all matters related to satellite approval, orbital communications and space debris, among others. These are things the agency was already doing, but now they will have a new, more efficient organization to do them.

“The satellite industry is growing at a record pace, but here on the ground, our regulatory frameworks for licensing have not kept pace. We are working to change that,” President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

The current International Office is being cannibalized to form it, but it feels more like an upgrade than a disbandment. Although the FCC voted unanimously today to form the new bureau, it will need additional congressional approvals and other paperwork before it’s final, but you can bet they’re already moving. offices and feed new discussion channels.

Here’s how the FCC put it in its order:

As part of this reorganization, the Space Office will promote a competitive and innovative global telecommunications market through space services. To achieve this, the Space Office will undertake policy analysis and rulemaking, as well as licensing satellite systems with the aim of facilitating the deployment of satellite services, streamlining regulatory processes and maximizing flexibility for operators to meet customer needs, and to promote the efficient use of spectrum and orbital resources. The Space Office will also serve as a focal point for coordination with other U.S. government agencies on space policy and governance issues, and support the Office of International Affairs for meetings with other countries, international organizations and representatives of foreign governments who involve space policy issues. .

It might sound a bit odd that the FCC regulates space, but it actually makes a lot of sense. The agency is responsible for regulating transmissions, particularly those between states (making it the natural regulator for Internet content), and satellites transmit a lot of data. In fact, with hundreds or thousands more growing every year, they are probably one of the fastest growing sources of data transmission.

While the FAA, NASA and the Pentagon also have their fingers in this pie, when it comes to making sure orbital platforms don’t interfere with each other or surface communications, the FCC is the right tool for the job. (Although the scope of this work is an open question.)

But until recently, space was a pretty small niche in their work. Now they’re submitting satellite approval requests to hundreds of companies and research centers, administering spectrum for networks of thousands of Comsats, and trying to make sure all that wireless traffic doesn’t drown out anything. important. Then there’s the whole issue of space debris, which is another story. But also important.

Either way, it makes perfect sense for the FCC to set up a space-focused bureau that, as part of its job, negotiates and cooperates with other countries — the job of the former International Bureau. . We will know more about as official milestones are reached in the coming months.

Leave a Reply

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