Frequency coordination is the technical exchange of planned spectrum or radio frequency use conducted by authorized operators when designing or operating a radio network. The purpose of frequency coordination is to ensure the implementation of new radiocommunication systems while avoiding harmful interference with other existing or planned users. Because satellite footprints are often large, and may cover more than one country, frequency coordination is especially important to avoid interference with other satellite and terrestrial networks.  

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) through the World Radio Conference (WRC) process has developed the procedures for satellite coordination activities.  The US, as a signatory to the ITU treaty texts, participates in the coordination process for each satellite network or system that is planned to be operated by a U.S. company. Once an application has been filed with the FCC, national (both federal and non-federal) and international satellite coordination are required.   

For some types of systems, an applicant is encouraged to engage in an informal “pre-coordination” with incumbent federal networks prior to submitting a space station application to the FCC if they plan to use frequency bands that are allocated for Federal Government use (e.g. the bands near 400 MHz, 2025-2110 MHz, 2200-2290 MHz, 8000-8400 MHz, 20.2-21.2 GHz and 30-31 GHz). Pre-coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is highly encouraged at the earliest design stages to reduce application processing delays and possible application denial. This coordination is recommended even if the proposed operations are primarily to be conducted outside of the United States and its Possessions (US&P).

The following reference guides are provided to aid in better understanding coordination:

When filing the application, the network characteristics and services defined must be identified correctly for proper coordination. Several of these service classes are provided in the Glossary and Acronyms list, which also includes other key terms.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024