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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC INITIATES RULEMAKING ON FLEXIBILITY
IN DELIVERY OF MOBILE SATELLITE SERVICES
Washington, D.C. -- Today the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) seeking comment on proposals to bring flexibility to the delivery of communications by mobile satellite service (MSS) providers. The Commission initiated this proceeding as a result of proposals submitted by two MSS operators to incorporate a wireless “ancillary terrestrial component” (ATC) into their MSS satellite networks.
In initiating the proceeding, the Commission recognized that the potential long-term benefits of MSS such as deployment of broadband services to rural areas merit consideration of the ATC proposal. New ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Ltd. (New ICO) and Motient Services, Inc. (Motient) have proposed this use in filings with the Commission. These parties contend that although a satellite system is ideally suited to serve rural areas, it is technically more difficult for MSS systems to deliver service in urban areas where satellite signals may be blocked.
The Commission did not state tentative conclusions in the Notice but seeks comment on approaches by which the Commission may permit more flexible use of MSS spectrum. The Commission recognized that this concept raises new issues regarding allocation and licensing of spectrum-based services, particularly different approaches for licensing satellite and terrestrial services. The Commission said that it intends to establish a record on a variety of policies and economic and technical issues raised by the New ICO and Motient proposals, including potentially innovative ideas that may result in improved quality and availability of services to the public.
The Notice seeks comment on the industry filers’ claims that allowing terrestrial operations in conjunction with MSS networks is important to ensure the commercial viability of MSS systems and to promote the Commission’s goal of bringing access to advanced communications services to rural and underserved areas of the country. It asks whether and how the Commission might bring flexibility in MSS spectrum either by:
The Notice also seeks comment on whether the preliminary approaches outlined for possible terrestrial operations in the 2 GHz band also could be adopted for satellite operations in the Big LEO (Low Earth Orbit) bands, given the similarity between these systems and MSS operations in the 2 GHz and L-band MSS services.In addition, the Commission sought comment on:
The specific proposals filed were by: New ICO for operating in the 2 GHz band (1990-2025/2165-2200 MHz) band; and Motient for operating in the L-band (1525-1559/1626.5-1660.5 MHz ). (On July 17, 2001, the International Bureau authorized eight satellite systems, including New ICO, to use spectrum in the 2 GHz band; those authorizations did not address the New ICO petition at issue in this proceeding.)
Action by the Commission August 9, 2001, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 01-225). Chairman Powell, Commissioners Tristani, Abernathy, Copps and Martin.
For further information contact: James L. Ball, Associate Chief, International Bureau (202) 418-0427, or Breck Blalock, Deputy Chief, Planning and Negotiations Division, International Bureau (202) 418-8191.
IB Docket No. 01-185
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