FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has announced a plan to restructure the agency to “better support the needs of the growing satellite industry, promote long-term technical capacity at the FCC and navigate 21st global communications policy,” according to a press release.
Under this plan, Rosenworcel will work to reorganize the FCC’s International Bureau into a new Space Bureau and a standalone Office of International Affairs.
“The satellite industry is growing at a record pace, but here on the ground our regulatory frameworks for licensing them have not kept up, said Rosenworcel at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. “Over the past two years the agency has received applications for 64,000 new satellites. In addition, we are seeing new commercial models, new players, and new technologies coming together to pioneer a wide-range of new satellite services and space-based activities that need access to wireless airwaves.”
The FCC currently licenses radio frequency uses by satellites and ensures that space systems reviewed by the agency have sufficient plans to mitigate orbital debris under the authority of the Communications Act of 1934.
“By separating satellite policy from the ‘International Bureau,’ the agency acknowledges the role of satellite communications in advancing domestic communications policy and achieving U.S. broadband goals,” read the release.
Lastly, the commission said establishing a stand-alone Office of International Affairs will allow experts to focus specifically on matters of international communications regulation and licensing.