FCC to establish Space Bureau
January 10, 2023
By Colin Mann
Formalising its November 2022 announcement, the Federal Communications Commission has released an Order adopting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s plan to modernise the FCC by establishing a Space Bureau and Office of International Affairs.
The planned reorganisation is designed better to support the needs of the growing satellite industry, promote long-term technical capacity at the FCC, and help the agency navigate 21st century global communications policy. As part of this plan, the agency will be eliminating the current International Bureau and incorporating that team into the new bureau and office.
“The satellite industry is growing at a record pace, but here on the ground our regulatory frameworks for licensing have not kept up,” admitted Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “We’re working to change that. Today, we are moving forward with our plan to prepare for what comes next. A new Space Bureau at the FCC will ensure that the agency’s resources are appropriately aligned to fulfil its statutory obligations, improve its coordination across the federal government, and support the 21st century satellite industry. I also thank my fellow Commissioners for their support.”
The action is the latest initiative in the FCC’s Space Innovation agenda. As part of this agenda, the FCC has taken action to speed up regulatory review processes, increase the size of the FCC’s satellite division by 38 per cent, create new opportunities for competition in the delivery of satellite broadband services, and modernise spectrum policy to better meet the needs of the next generation Space Age. As the agency promotes Space Innovation, it also has taken action to advance space safety and responsibility, including by adopting new rules for deorbiting satellites to address orbital debris risks.
The FCC will next seek Congressional and other approvals for the planned reorganisation and make formal notice in the Federal Register.