The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched its new Space Bureau and Office of International Affairs with an event at its headquarters on 11 April. Unveiling the new bureau, FCC chairwomen Jessica Rosenworcel explained: ‘Our country’s economic success today and in the future relies on space-based connections. Whether it’s bringing broadband to hard-to-connect rural communities, closing mobile dead zones, or linking freedom-seeking people across the globe, satellite connectivity is fundamental to improving our quality of life and maintaining our economic success. That is why the FCC has made important structural changes to meet the needs of space innovation.’
Once the reorganisation is complete, the agency’s current International Bureau will become two separate, cooperative units within the agency:
The Space Bureau (SB) will promote a competitive and innovative global communications marketplace by leading policy and licensing matters related to satellite and space-based communications and activities. Among its responsibilities, the Bureau will lead complex policy analysis and rulemakings; authorise satellite and earth station systems used for space-based services; streamline regulatory processes to provide maximum flexibility for operators to meet customer needs; and foster the efficient use of scarce spectrum and orbital resources.
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) will be responsible for the FCC’s engagement of foreign and international regulatory authorities, including multilateral and regional organisations. OIA will also facilitate through rulemaking and licensing the FCC’s development of policies regarding international telecoms facilities and services as well as submarine cables, and advise the Commission on foreign ownership issues. In undertaking these functions, OIA will implement Commission policies to facilitate competition and foreign investment in US international telecoms markets while ensuring, in consultation with relevant federal partners, that national security, law enforcement, foreign policy, and trade policy concerns are addressed.