FCC Drops Some Requirements for Licensing Communications Satellites

The FCC adopted a Report and Order in August last year to amend Part 25 rules governing the licensing and operation of satellite communications systems. These rules are not yet in effect, pending a review by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act. However, some of the amendments in the modified Part 25 rules will eliminate requirements for providing certain information in applications for space station (satellite) licenses or U.S. market access for foreign-licensed satellites.

The FCC had already determined that this information is unnecessary and its International Bureau decided to expedite the rules change. The International Bureau announced in a Public Notice that it would exercise its delegated discretion to administer rules and procedures concerning satellite services and find that there would be good cause for a waiver of the information requirements identified as unnecessary, noting that it would serve no useful purpose to dismiss an application for failure to include the information now deemed unnecessary.

Such “unnecessary” information now includes: final amplifier output power and losses between the amplifier and the antenna, receiving antenna noise figure, predicted receiver and transmitter channel filter characteristics, spacecraft weight and its dimensions, mass, power budgets and estimated reliability. Among other items now deemed non-essential is the compression rate for SDARS audio signals.

The complete list of items covered under the waiver are in Table A of Public Notice DA 14-90.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.