Following a visit to NASA by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to brief officials on the agency’s new Space Bureau, the agency has an item concerning that bureau on its September monthly meeting agenda. During that August visit, she was able to meet the crew of Artemis II. They’re training to become the first astronauts to visit the moon in over 50 years.
The space industry has entered an era of unprecedented growth, which is fueling an increase in both the complexity and the number of applications for space services before the Commission, Rosenworcel says in an update. “To keep pace with this rapid change, the Commission will consider new rules to streamline our satellite policies and expedite the processing of space and earth station applications.” The policy changes include a new Transparency Initiative so that applicants can better understand the Commission’s procedures.
5G is also on tap for the September 21 meeting. The Commission’s 5G Fund for Rural America was created to ensure the deployment of next-generation, high-speed mobile service in areas of the country where, absent subsidies, it will continue to be lacking. The Commission will vote to explore a series of questions on how best to harness new, granular, and improved mobile coverage data from its Broadband Data Collection to better target 5G Fund support to areas where support is needed most and where the funds could be spent most efficiently, according to the Chairwoman.
Competitive Carriers Association President/CEO Tim Donovan welcomed the news about the 5G fund, saying: “Much has changed since the original 5G Fund Order in 2020 and updates to eligibility, funding, and more are needed to position the 5G Fund for success. The FCC has a vital role to play to preserve and expand mobile connectivity across the nation, and it is incredibly important to build on federal broadband programs focused on fixed broadband to provide true ubiquitous connectivity.” Without 5G coverage, the latest 5G innovations will remain out of reach for too many Americans, he added.
The FCC also intends to update obsolete media rules. The agency’s rules for full-power and Class A TV stations have not been comprehensively reviewed in decades. The Commission will vote to clean up the rules to reflect the current operating environment, including the transition from analog to digital and the recent television spectrum repack.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief