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FCC streamlines review procedures for ‘non-routine’ earth stations

The FCC has adopted modified licensing rules intended to streamline the application review from non-routine earth stations and speed broadband satellite service availability for consumers.

In two separate items, the commission adopted changes to the current Part 25 technical and processing rules and proposed other changes to reduce application review time. Non-routine earth stations, often used to provide satellite-based broadband Internet access, refers to earth stations with smaller antenna diameters or those that operate at higher power levels than those specified in Part 25 of the commission’s rules.

The commission adopted two new streamlined procedures for case-by-case review of applications for smaller-than-routine earth stations, including:

  • Certification Procedure: Applicants can provide certifications of prior coordination with satellite operators that ensure that proposed stations will not cause unacceptable interference to their operations.
  • Power Reduction: Applicants can file applications and specify that they will operate at a low enough power level to prevent interference.

Similar certification procedures for proposed earth stations with higher-than-routine power were adopted. The commission also made additional technical rule changes, including updating the rules for Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) networks using Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), and proposed rules that would give earth station operators more flexibility to adjust their operations to meet market demands.

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