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FCC to consider revising spectrum rules for low-Earth orbit satellite systems

The Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 14 will consider revising rules for spectrum-sharing among low-Earth orbit satellite systems, which supports providing broadband and communications applications from space.

FCC officials declined to comment on the details of the commission’s plans to consider an order and notice of proposed rulemaking for the proposed revisions, but they pointed to a November note from FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel who said potential changes to the spectrum-sharing requirements will “not only facilitate the deployment of this new technology, it will promote competition and make it easier for new competitors to enter the market.”

Low-Earth orbit satellites travel closer to Earth than traditional satellites and have shorter delay times to process broadband, particularly in remote areas. But access to spectrum is crucial for supporting satellite-based broadband technology.

The FCC is considering the proposed rulemaking at a time when an increasing number of companies are eyeing the space market. Amazon.com Inc., for instance, is working on its Project Kuiper low-Earth orbit satellite constellation designed to provide fast, affordable broadband to unserved communities; while The Boeing Co. recently received approval from the FCC to launch 147 satellites that provide high-speed broadband access. The SpaceX Starklink system also has a network of low-orbit satellites that enable streaming, online gaming and video calls. S&P Global

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