On January 4, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) setting forth proposed rules for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the 5030-5091 MHz band. At present, unmanned aircraft systems primarily operate under the FCC’s rules for unlicensed and low-power communications or according to experimental licenses. Neither of these spectrum resources provide the user with the right to protection from harmful interference, meaning that communications using such resources can be unreliable. The FCC’s proposed rules attempt to address this issue by granting unmanned aircraft systems access to licensed spectrum with the resilience to support more advanced and secure communications.Continue Reading ALERT: FCC Opens Rulemaking on Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Licensed Spectrum
On November 30, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Draft NPRM”) that, if adopted, will seek comment on comprehensive changes to the Part 25 satellite and earth station licensing rules for the first time since 2015. The Draft NPRM represents a significant step in the Commission’s efforts to facilitate innovation in the satellite industry, proposing changes that would facilitate greater expediency, flexibility, and curability in the licensing process. Continue Reading ALERT: Space Innovation Comes to Part 25 as the FCC Proposes New Reforms for its Satellite and Earth Station Licensing Rules
On November 3, 2022, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced plans to reorganize the International Bureau into a new Space Bureau and a standalone Office of International Affairs. The changes are intended to help ensure FCC resources are aligned to meet the needs of FCC licensees and regulatees by “elevat[ing] the significance of satellite programs and policy within the agency to a level that reflects the importance of the emerging space economy.” Continue Reading ALERT: FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Plans to Create a Space Bureau
On June 13, 2022, the FCC provided notice that the State of Florida has become the 24th state (including the District of Columbia) to certify state-level regulatory jurisdiction over rates, terms, and conditions for pole attachments. Continue Reading Sunshine State Becomes 24th to Certify Regulation of Pole Attachments
- The FCC recently adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to display consumer-friendly “nutrition labels” allowing consumers to comparison shop for broadband services;
- The FCC proposes that these nutrition labels display information about price, speed, data allowances, and other relevant aspects of the proposed broadband service; and
- Following-up on its first hearing on these potential nutritional labels, the FCC will conduct a second hearing on April 7, 2022.
Ukraine has suffered multiple internet and connectivity outages since the Russian invasion began. Seeking to restore vital connectivity to his citizens in the face of the Russian military threat, Vice Prime Minster Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted at SpaceX CEO Elon Musk asking for help. After receiving what is arguably the first regulatory approval by Tweet, Musk and SpaceX responded by shipping the Starlink user terminals to Ukraine on March 1, 2022. The non-geostationary satellite orbit (“NGSO”) satellite broadband service now serves as a vital tool for connectivity where traditional terrestrial infrastructure fell short.
Continue Reading Spacing Out for Resiliency – Why Satellite Technology is Vital to Resilient Networks
On December 28, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s” or “Commission’s”) authority to permit unlicensed wireless devices, such as internet routers, smart phones, and laptops, to operate in the 6 GHz band.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Allows FCC To Open 6 GHz Band For Unlicensed Use
On Monday, January 10, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) commenced a public comment period for interested parties to submit comments on the development and implementation of three forthcoming broadband grant programs established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021(“IIJA”): (1) the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (“BEAD”) program, (2) the Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and (3) the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.
Continue Reading ALERT: NTIA Seeks Public Comment on Implementation of Upcoming Broadband Grant Programs
As wireless airwaves fill-up to meet a surge in demand, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is actively considering new technologies and changes to its rules to promote the most productive use of spectrum resources.
Continue Reading Look Up In The Sky! It’s Not A Bird. It’s Not A Plane. It’s A Haps!
On October 13, 2021, William Shatner (aka, Captain Kirk from Star Trek) flew where few have gone before, taking a ten minute jaunt to the edge of outer space. The successful flight comes on the heels of other highly-publicized, successful commercial space flights, including the September 15, 2021, SpaceX mission dubbed “Inspiration4” that made history as the first orbital spaceflight with no professional astronauts onboard. As the era of commercial spaceflight draws ever closer, the space industry is building toward expanded commercial opportunities in space, including private space stations, space hotels, and colonies on the moon and Mars. So now, as we stand on the precipice of the commercial space revolution, it is important to reflect on the regulatory “learning period” that enabled U.S. commercial space flight to reach this juncture and consider the timing and substance of the regulatory framework necessary to spur our next great leap forward.
Continue Reading Captain’s Blog: Fly Me To The Moon