COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL
Comprehensive Review of Licensing and Operating Rules for Satellite Services
I am pleased to vote to approve today’s notice of proposed rulemaking to streamline our
licensing and operating rules for satellite service providers. At the outset, I congratulate and
thank the team in the International Bureau for your dedication and creativity.
Satellite technology plays an important role in meeting the communications needs of
public safety entities, energy and enterprise businesses, and retail consumers. Even in places
where terrestrial wireless coverage is abundant, some consumers may remain unreachable due to
challenging terrain, insularity or both. Satellite service providers, on the other hand, have the
technical capability to connect to consumers in these areas. Given satellite technology’s growing
significance in the communications marketplace, I expect that interested parties will greatly
appreciate the fresh look and common sense approach we propose here.
In addition to seeking comment on issues of general interest, including reporting
requirements, forms and rain fade compensation, the notice literally sets forth in numerical order
the proposed Part 25 licensing and technical rule changes and asks valuable questions about each
One proposal is particularly noteworthy. In seeking to modernize Section 25.114 of our
rules, we acknowledge that today’s state-of-the-art satellites employ spot-beams. Specifically, we
propose to streamline our current rule to allow applicants for space stations with large numbers of
identical spot beams to supply antenna gain contour diagrams for one transmit and one receive
antenna beam only. The good news is that this idea is a win-win-win. Such a change will greatly
reduce the burden on our FCC staff, as well as the license applicants. The resulting double
efficiency will reduce costs for both taxpayers and regulatees alike. Ultimately, these cost
savings are passed on to consumers of satellite services.
Thank you also to Chairman Genachowski for bringing this notice forward. I also
acknowledge the interested parties that assisted the IB team with this effort. I am eager to engage
and to learn more in the coming months.
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