[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 126 (Monday, July 1, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 39200-39232]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15592]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 2

[ET Docket No. 13-115; RM-11341; FCC 13-65]


Federal Earth Stations--Non-Federal Fixed Satellite Service Space 
Stations; Spectrum for Non-Federal Space Launch Operations

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: This document proposes to make spectrum allocation proposals 
for three different space related purposes. The Commission makes two 
alternative proposals to modify the Allocation Table to provide 
interference protection for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Mobile-
Satellite Service (MSS) earth stations operated by Federal agencies 
under authorizations granted by the National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration (NTIA) in certain frequency bands. The 
Commission also proposes to amend a footnote to the Allocation Table to 
permit a Federal MSS system to operate in the 399.9-400.05 MHz band; 
also makes alternative proposals to modify the Allocation Table to 
provide access to spectrum on an interference protected basis to 
Commission licensees for use during the launch of launch vehicles (i.e. 
rockets). The Commission also seeks comment broadly on the future 
spectrum needs of the commercial space sector. The Commission expects 
that, if adopted, these proposals would advance the commercial space 
industry and the important role it will play in our nation's economy 
and technological innovation now and in the future.

DATES: Comments must be filed on or before August 30, 2013, and reply 
comments must be filed on or before September 30, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nicholas Oros, Office of Engineering 
and Technology, 202-418-0636,

[[Page 39201]]

Nicholas.oros@fcc.gov, TTY (202) 418-2989.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by ET Docket No. 13-115, 
RM-11341, by any of the following methods:
    [ssquf] Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    [ssquf] Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    [ssquf] Email: [Optional: Include the Email address only if you 
plan to accept comments from the general public]. Include the docket 
number(s) in the subject line of the message.
    [ssquf] Mail: [Optional: Include the mailing address for paper, 
disk or CD-ROM submissions needed/requested by your Bureau or Office. 
Do not include the Office of the Secretary's mailing address here.]

For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of Proposed Rule Making, ET Docket No. 13-115, FCC 13-65, adopted May 
9, 2013, and released May 9, 2013. The full text of this document is 
available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in 
the FCC Reference Center (Room CY-A257), 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. The complete text of this document also may be 
purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, Best Copy and 
Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street SW., Room, CY-B402, Washington, DC 
20554. The full text may also be downloaded at: www.fcc.gov.
    Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 
CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply 
comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this 
document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in 
Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
    [ssquf] Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
    [ssquf] Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file 
an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or 
rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    [ssquf] All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for 
the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with 
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of 
before entering the building.
    [ssquf] Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
    [ssquf] U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail 
must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.
    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).

Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    1. The National Space Policy recognizes that ``[a] robust and 
competitive commercial space sector is vital to continued progress in 
space.'' In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) the Commission 
addresses the spectrum needs of two separate, but closely related 
portions of the commercial space sector: the commercial communications 
satellite industry and the commercial space launch industry. It is our 
expectation that, if adopted, these proposals would advance the 
commercial space industry and the important role it will play in our 
nation's economy and technological innovation now and in the future.
    2. To advance the goals of the National Space Policy, the 
Commission presents two alternative proposals in the NPRM to provide 
Federal earth stations that communicate with non-Federal Fixed-
Satellite Service (FSS) and Mobile-Satellite Service (MSS) space 
stations interference protection identical to that afforded to non-
Federal earth stations communicating with the same FSS and MSS space 
stations. Under the first proposal the Commission proposes to modify 
the Allocation Table in Section 2.106 of the rules to add a Federal 
allocation for the FSS bands, along with a footnote restricting Federal 
use to earth stations communicating with non-Federal space stations. In 
the second proposal it proposes to place a footnote in the Allocation 
Table in the FSS bands that provides that Federal earth stations that 
communicate with non-Federal FSS and MSS space stations would receive 
interference protection identical to that afforded to non-Federal earth 
stations communicating with the same FSS and MSS space stations.
    3. The Commission also proposes in the NPRM to amend a footnote to 
the Allocation Table to permit a Federal MSS system to operate in the 
399.9-400.05 MHz MSS band. This action would allow traffic to be 
migrated from Argos, the existing Federal MSS system, to a new Federal 
satellite system, thereby resulting in less interference and improved 
service and reliability for users of both the existing and new Federal 
MSS systems. No Federal or non-Federal MSS systems have been deployed 
in this band since it was allocated for MSS in 1993, and this proposed 
Federal allocation will permit long-vacant spectrum to be put to an 
important use.
    4. Finally, in the NPRM the Commission proposes several 
alternatives for providing spectrum for use during commercial space 
launches, thereby providing launch vehicles with interference 
protection. During launches, spectrum in the 420-430 MHz, 2200-2290 
MHz, and 5650-5925 MHz bands is typically used to send a self-destruct 
signal to the launch vehicle (if needed) and information from the 
launch vehicle to controllers on ground, as well as to track the launch 
vehicle by radar. Because these frequency bands are allocated only to 
Federal use for these purposes, the Commission may not issue licenses 
for these bands that provide interference protection to commercial 
space launch operators. The Commission seeks comment on two possible 
options to support commercial space launches by either adding a co-
primary non-Federal allocation to these bands or by providing an 
Allocation Table footnote to allow non-Federal use of these bands to 
provide commercial entities access to these important spectrum 
resources. The Commission also seeks comment on ways to ensure the long 
term sustainability of the commercial launch industry by exploring 
other alternatives to use of these bands as more commercial

[[Page 39202]]

launches are conducted and more private spaceports are established.

A. Expanded Federal Use of the Non-Federal FSS and MSS Bands

    5. In August 2006, the National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration (NTIA) filed a petition requesting that the Commission 
initiate a rulemaking to permit Federal earth stations that are 
authorized by NTIA and that operate with non-Federal satellites to have 
primary status in a number of frequency bands currently allocated for 
non-Federal FSS and non-Federal MSS on a primary basis. Earth stations 
authorized by NTIA must now operate on a non-interference basis. 
Alternatively, Federal agencies may lease services from a licensee of 
an FCC-authorized earth station to operate with interference 
protection. NTIA requests that the Federal Table be modified to add a 
primary FSS allocation along with a footnote that would restrict 
primary Federal use of these bands to Federal earth stations accessing 
non-Federal satellites. The NTIA petition outlines a means for Federal 
agencies to deploy their own earth stations to overcome the 
uncertainties associated with operating on a non-interference basis and 
the limitations of leasing services through a third party operator. 
Such a modification would turn certain exclusive non-Federal use 
frequency bands into shared Federal/non-Federal spectrum, although use 
of these bands by Federal agencies would be limited by the terms of the 
footnote. The allocation and footnote that NTIA requests would mirror 
an existing Federal allocation for a number of MSS bands. These MSS 
bands have co-primary Federal and non-Federal allocations along with 
footnote US319, which restricts Federal MSS earth stations in the bands 
to operating with non-Federal space stations.
    6. NTIA's petition identifies 13.275 gigahertz of spectrum in ten 
frequency bands for which it seeks primary status. As background, 
spectrum used for satellite communications is divided into different 
frequency bands which are referred to with letter designations, such as 
the C-band, Ku-band, or Ka-band. The spectrum which the NTIA petition 
identifies falls into parts of four of these lettered satellite bands: 
3.6-4.2 GHz and 5.85-6.725 GHz (in the C-band); 10.7-12.2 GHz, 12.7-
13.25 GHz, and 13.75-14.5 GHz (in the Ku-band); 18.3-19.3 GHz, 19.7-
20.2 GHz, and 27.5-30 GHz (in the Ka-band); and 37.5-39.5 GHz and 47.2-
50.2 GHz (in the V-band). The Commission notes that all of the bands 
addressed in the NTIA petition are allocated for the FSS. In the FSS, 
earth stations in stationary locations communicate with space stations 
(i.e. satellites). In addition, a portion of the Ka-band from 19.7-20.2 
GHz and 29.5-30.0 GHz is also allocated on a primary basis to the MSS 
with MSS use for most of this spectrum restricted to satellite systems 
that are also in the FSS. In the MSS mobile earth stations communicate 
with space stations.
    7. Comments received in response to NTIA's petition were generally 
supportive but did express a number of specific reservations. For 
example, the Satellite Industry Association (SIA) stated that non-
Federal commercial and experimental license applicants should not face 
delays because of the need for the Commission to coordinate 
applications with NTIA. The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition 
commented that Federal earth stations should be required to conduct 
coordination with terrestrial stations sharing the same band prior to 
applying for a license as is required for non-Federal earth station 
applicants. SIA, Hispasat, and Lockheed Martin believe that Federal 
earth stations should be subject to the Commission's technical and 
enforcement rules, which is not normally the case for Federal agencies.
    8. The Commission seeks comments generally on the benefits of 
greater Federal use of commercial satellite networks. For example, 
would Federal agencies increase their use of commercial satellite 
networks to accomplish their missions with greater efficiency and 
reduced costs while meeting the national policy objective requiring the 
use of commercial satellite systems? Would increased Federal use of 
commercial satellites serve to strengthen the commercial satellite 
industry--a vital component of the economy and an important driver of 
United States productivity?
    9. The FSS has operated under a regulatory framework in which the 
Commission establishes the technical and licensing rules for space 
stations and earth stations operating as integrated systems, thereby 
enabling many earth stations to be authorized and operate independently 
of each other with little risk of interference even if they communicate 
with the same space station. NTIA requests that Federal earth stations 
it authorizes be allowed to operate with the same regulatory status as 
non-Federal earth stations in the same frequency band. In order to 
accomplish this objective, it requests a modification of the Federal 
Table to include a co-primary FSS allocation in certain frequency bands 
for Federal earth stations communicating with commercial satellites. 
This allocation approach would increase uncertainty over who is the 
regulator of the satellite systems that operate in these bands. NTIA 
states that the Commission would not be required to consult with NTIA 
or other Federal agencies regarding these bands any more than they 
currently coordinate, NTIA would utilize the current FCC processes as 
much as possible, and the current FCC process would remain as it is 
today for non-Federal earth station applications.
    10. Based on the Commission's experience in spectrum management in 
conjunction with NTIA, and in consideration of the goals of the 
National Space Policy as well as the comments it received in response 
to the Public Notice that the Commission issued subsequent to receiving 
NTIA's petition, the Commission recognizes that a policy guiding 
Federal use of commercial satellite networks can be successful only if 
it provides a clear method for establishing and enforcing operational 
rights and responsibilities that can be applied consistently regardless 
of whether the user is licensed by the Commission or authorized by 
NTIA. The Commission has identified and seeks comment on the following 
four key objectives, which it believe best express this intent:
     To ensure parity between Federal and non-Federal earth 
stations;
     To provide certainty that the Commission retains 
regulatory oversight of the satellite network and the FSS even though 
the Commission would license non-Federal earth stations, and NTIA would 
authorize Federal earth stations;
     To ensure that the rules and procedures do not hinder the 
Commission's rulemaking processes or delay the issuance of Commission 
licenses and coordination in the affected bands; and
     To establish procedures to ensure that both Federal and 
non-Federal earth stations comply with the Commission's rules for 
operating in the frequency bands.
    11. The Commission seeks comment on the means by which it can 
provide interference protection to Federal earth stations used to 
access commercial satellite networks. First, the Commission addressed 
the commercial satellite frequency bands where NTIA has requested that 
it should place Federal earth stations on an equal footing with non-
Federal earth stations. The Commission then outlined two proposals for 
providing Federal agencies with interference-protected access to these 
frequency bands. The first proposal follows NTIA's suggested approach 
by adding a co-primary Federal FSS and MSS allocation to the

[[Page 39203]]

Federal Table as well as a footnote that limits primary Federal use of 
the bands to earth stations communicating with non-Federal satellites. 
The second approach retains the existing non-Federal allocation 
structure in those satellite bands, but adds a footnote to the U.S. 
Table that recognizes the interference protection status for certain 
Federal earth stations in communication with non-Federal space stations
    12. The Commission proposes to modify the U.S. Table using one of 
the approaches discussed to provide Federal earth stations interference 
protection in the frequency bands proposed by NTIA, with the exception 
of 3600-3700 MHz Band for which it tentatively concluded not to change 
the Allocation Table because the Commission has recently initiated a 
proceeding to make the band available for wireless broadband. The 
Commission seeks comment generally on this proposal. It recognizes that 
use of some of these bands for commercial satellite services has 
evolved since the NTIA petition was filed, that Federal agency use of 
the commercial satellite services may vary among the different 
frequency bands, and that in some bands Federal access may not be 
needed at all. The Commission thus seeks comment on whether Federal 
access should be added for those frequency bands discussed that are 
most likely to meet the needs of Federal earth station users.
    13. In a number of the NTIA requested bands, the FSS shares 
spectrum with terrestrial services. These include the C-band and the 
extended Ku-band. In bands shared between terrestrial and satellite 
users, coordination between terrestrial licensees and earth stations is 
required to prevent interference. Should the complexity that this 
coordination adds to licensing of earth stations in these bands affect 
our decision to add a co-primary Federal allocation to these bands? In 
addition, portions of the Ka-band and V-band have been designated for 
terrestrial use. Should the Commission consider modifying the 
Allocation Table to provide protection to Federal earth stations in the 
portions of these bands designated for terrestrial services?
    14. Allocation Approach: The Commission seeks comment on whether it 
should amend the Federal Table to add a co-primary Federal FSS or MSS 
allocation to the selected bands. Under this proposal (the ``allocation 
approach''), the Commission would also add a footnote to the Federal 
Table restricting primary use of Federal earth stations in these bands 
to communication with non-Federal space stations. Under the allocation 
approach, Federal agencies authorized by NTIA to operate earth stations 
in these bands would have co-primary status with Commission-licensed 
non-Federal earth stations. The allocation approach mirrors NTIA's 
request.
    15. Successful implementation of the allocation approach will 
require agreement by NTIA and the Commission on coordination procedures 
that Federal agencies would follow for authorizing Federal earth 
stations. The Commission proposes that Federal users would follow a 
process similar to that used by Commission applicants to obtain 
approval to use earth stations in the FSS bands. This process is 
especially important for preventing interference where the FSS shares 
the band with terrestrial services, such as the C-band and extended Ku-
band. Interference between earth stations communicating with different 
space stations is largely avoided because the Commission's rules 
require that earth stations use directional antennas and that space 
stations are separated by 2 degrees in the orbital arc. To avoid 
interference between terrestrial stations and earth stations sharing 
the same band, the Commission's rules rely on coordination between 
operators of these stations prior to issuance of a license. The 
Commission's rules require an applicant for an FSS earth station 
license in bands shared with terrestrial services to conduct a 
frequency coordination analysis prior to filing an application. This 
frequency coordination analysis requires the applicant to perform an 
interference analysis for each ``close by'' terrestrial station for 
which a license or construction permit has been granted or an 
application has been filed. The applicant must provide the interference 
analysis and technical information about the earth station to each of 
these terrestrial station licensees, permittees, or applicants. The 
terrestrial station licensee, permittee, or applicant then responds to 
the earth station applicant if it has an interference concern. The 
parties may resolve potential interference by an agreement that is 
filed with the application. Applicants for fixed point-to-point 
microwave licenses in bands shared with the FSS must coordinate their 
proposed links with nearby earth stations prior to filing their 
applications using a similar process. In addition to the coordination 
requirements for terrestrial stations, the Commission's rules also 
impose coordination requirements on earth stations with antennas that 
do not meet specified off-axis EIRP envelopes. These earth stations, 
called non-conforming earth stations, must be coordinated with 
satellites within a 6 degree orbital separation of the satellite the 
earth station will be communicating with. A statement that this 
coordination has been conducted must be included in the application for 
the earth station.
    16. The Commission proposes the following procedures to be agreed 
iupon and followed by the Commission and NTIA to ensure parity between 
Federal and non-Federal earth stations. The Federal agency would 
request approval from NTIA to deploy and operate an earth station. In 
bands shared with terrestrial users such as the C-band and extended Ku-
band, either NTIA or the Federal agency would coordinate with 
terrestrial stations as required by the Commission's rules. For non-
conforming earth stations in any satellite band, either NTIA or the 
Federal agency would coordinate the proposed earth stations with other 
satellites as required by the Commission's rules. After such 
coordination, NTIA would send the request to the Commission, providing 
all technical information that would be provided by a non-Federal 
applicant, such as station location and basic technical 
characteristics. The Commission would process the request in the same 
way as it would process applications for Commission licenses. The 
Commission would place the request on public notice. Following the 
public notice period, if the Commission determines that the request 
meets all technical criteria for licensing (i.e., that the application 
would be granted if it were submitted by a non-Federal entity), the 
Commission would notify NTIA and make an entry in the Commission's 
database indicating the technical characteristics of the station and 
its protected status. The Commission's database entries will facilitate 
future coordination with terrestrial operations sharing the satellite 
bands. In bands where there are no terrestrial stations or where the 
earth stations are conforming, there will be no need to coordinate the 
earth station application prior to NTIA filing a request with the FCC. 
In that case, NTIA would file a request with the FCC providing all 
technical information that would be provided by a non-Federal 
applicant, such as station location and basic technical 
characteristics. The Commission would place the request on public 
notice. Following the public notice period, if the Commission 
determines that the request meets all technical criteria, the 
Commission would notify NTIA and make an entry in the Commission's 
database indicating the technical

[[Page 39204]]

characteristics of the station and its protected status. The Commission 
seeks comment on these coordination procedures. Because it is proposing 
that Federal agencies would follow the same technical requirements and 
procedures as Commission licensees in obtaining authorization to 
operate earth stations, the Commission believes there would be no 
negative effect on emergency response communications. The Commission 
seeks comment on this proposal.
    17. Under the proposed allocation approach, these FSS bands would 
be shared Federal/non-Federal FSS bands. Under existing coordination 
procedures the Commission routinely coordinates license applications 
for bands shared with Federal stations with NTIA. The Commission 
believes that the addition of the Federal earth stations should not 
require any additional coordination procedures for non-Federal 
applicants. Accordingly, the Commission proposes that applications for 
Commission licenses using frequencies currently allocated for exclusive 
non-Federal use not be coordinated with NTIA. To enable protection of 
government FSS earth station operations in these new bands, the 
Commission proposes that the Federal agencies or NTIA monitor 
Commission public notices regarding filed earth station applications to 
determine whether proposed non-Federal terrestrial stations raise any 
interference concerns to existing Federal earth stations. If a proposed 
non-Federal station will cause interference to an existing Federal 
earth station, NTIA could file an opposition to the earth station 
application in accordance with established Commission procedure. The 
Commission will consider any such opposition in the same manner as 
oppositions filed by other parties. The Commission seeks comment on 
these proposals, as well as any other considerations that may impact 
the process currently used by FCC and NTIA for frequency coordination. 
For parties proposing additional coordination approaches, the 
Commission ask that they also include an analysis on timing and cost of 
such an approach.
    18. Under our existing procedures under the MOU, the Commission and 
NTIA coordinate proposed actions that could potentially cause 
interference to Federal operations, including changes to our technical 
or service rules in shared Federal/non-Federal bands. The Commission's 
ex parte rules generally exempt presentations by NTIA in matters over 
which NTIA and the Commission share jurisdiction. Thus, Federal 
agencies may be afforded an opportunity to participate, through NTIA, 
in rulemakings in a manner unavailable to non-Federal licensees. The 
Commission invites comment on how it might continue to protect against 
harmful interference to or from Federal earth station operations in a 
manner that is consistent with the coordination practice as set forth 
in the MOU, while at the same time ensuring transparency, fairness, and 
integrity in the Commission's decision making process.
    19. The Commission believes that under an allocation approach, it 
would need to include in the footnote that we propose to add to the 
Federal Table a requirement that Federal earth stations in these bands 
comply with part 25 of the Commission's rules. Are there other ways 
that the Commission could ensure that Federal agencies exercise only 
the same rights and obligations that are afforded similarly situated 
non-Federal entities? For example, if Federal agencies are not required 
to follow the Commission's technical rules, including coordination 
procedures, what rules should they follow? The Commission also seeks 
comment on how to treat Federal agencies operating under a direct 
allocation but that are not in compliance with the footnote. If 
interference occurs between Federal earth stations and non-Federal 
stations, how should it be resolved?
    20. The Commission's part 25 rules permit operation of Vehicle 
Mounted Earth Stations (VMES), Earth Stations on Vessels (ESV), and 
Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA) in a number of FSS bands. VMES, 
ESV, and ESAA may have either primary or secondary status depending on 
the particular FSS band or on whether the ESV or VMES is in motion. The 
Commission notes that under the allocation approach NTIA would be able 
to authorize Federal agencies to operate VMES, ESV, and ESAA in the 
bands to which we are adding a Federal FSS allocation to the same 
extent and with the same restrictions as Commission licensees. Federal 
agencies would be expected to comply with all of the part 25 rules 
pertaining to VMES, ESV, and ESAA and with the footnotes to the 
Allocation Table regarding VMES, ESV, and ESAA. The Commission seeks 
comment on this proposal.
    21. Under the allocation approach, the Commission proposes to amend 
the Federal Table by adding the following primary allocations: (1) 
``FIXED-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)'' to the 3700-4200 MHz, 10.7-12.2 
GHz, and 37.5-39.5 GHz bands; (2) ``FIXED-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)'' 
to the 5850-6725 MHz, 12.7-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14.5 GHz, 27.5-30 GHz, and 
47.2-48.2 GHz bands; (3) ``MOBILE-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)'' to the 
19.7-20.2 GHz band; and (4) ``MOBILE-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)'' to 
the 29.5-30 GHz band. It also proposes to add new footnote US107 to the 
Allocation Table that would restrict Federal stations in the FSS to 
earth stations operating with non-Federal space stations in these ten 
frequency bands, with the exception of Federal earth stations in three 
locations that operate in the 18.3-19.3 GHz and 19.7-20.2 GHz bands. In 
addition, the Commission proposes to amend US319 by adding the 19.7-
20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 29.5-30 GHz (Earth-to-space) bands, 
thereby restricting Federal MSS stations in those bands to earth 
stations operating with non-Federal space stations. It also takes this 
opportunity to propose to revise the text of US319 so that it parallels 
the text of proposed footnote US107 and to renumber footnote US319 in 
frequency order as footnote US46. The Commission seeks comment on these 
proposals.
    22. Further, if the Commission adopts the allocation approach, it 
proposes to reclassify all non-Federal footnotes that apply to the non-
Federal FSS allocations in the proposed frequency bands (NG52, NG53, 
NG54, NG55, NG143, NG164, NG165, NG166, NG180, NG181, NG183, NG185, 
NG187) as U.S. footnotes. In particular, the Commission notes that 
seven of these non-Federal footnotes (NG52, NG54, NG55, NG180, NG181, 
NG183, NG187) authorize mobile applications (i.e., ESV, VMES, and ESAA) 
in the fixed-satellite service. The Commission seeks comment on this 
proposal.
    23. Finally, the Commission proposes to add all international and 
U.S. footnotes that apply to the non-Federal FSS and MSS allocations in 
the requested bands to the Federal Table. It request comment on this 
proposal.
    24. In seeking comment on our proposal to add a primary Federal 
allocation to the Allocation Table for these satellite bands, the 
Commission urges commenters to discuss how implementation of the 
allocation approach can satisfy the four key objectives that it has 
defined. The Commission likewise seeks comment on the process it 
proposes for Federal users to obtain approval to operate earth stations 
in these satellite bands. Can the allocation approach sufficiently 
protect the interests of non-Federal licensees in both the FSS and 
other services operating in these bands? Would the approach provide the 
flexibility needed for Federal users to effectively make use of the 
commercial satellite services? Are there additional steps we should 
take to

[[Page 39205]]

ensure that non-Federal users are protected from harmful interference 
from Federal earth stations? How could NTIA's ``treat the same'' 
request be most effectively realized and how could the concerns that 
commenters have raised regarding NTIA's petition be addressed? The 
Commission also seeks comment on the costs and benefits of the 
allocation approach.
    25. Interference Protection Approach: Under our second proposal the 
Commission would add the following U.S. footnote to both the Federal 
Table and non-Federal Table for each of the FSS bands included in 
NTIA's petition:

    USxxx The following provisions shall apply to Federal earth 
stations that operate with non-Federal space stations in the fixed-
satellite service (FSS), and in the bands 19.7-20.2 GHz and 29.5-30 
GHz, the mobile-satellite service (MSS), in accordance with the 
Commission's rules and regulations (see in particular the technical 
requirements of 47 CFR part 25) and that are authorized by NTIA:
    (a) Federal earth stations that receive signals in the bands 
3700-4200 MHz, 10.7-12.2 GHz, and 37.5-39.5 GHz can claim protection 
from harmful interference from non-Federal stations to which these 
frequencies are assigned at a later date even though there are no 
Federal FSS or MSS allocations in these bands.
    (b) Federal earth stations that receive signals in the bands 
18.3-19.3 GHz and 19.7-20.2 GHz from non-Federal space stations in 
the FSS can claim protection from harmful interference from non-
Federal stations to which these frequencies are assigned at a later 
date.
    (c) Non-Federal stations cannot claim protection from harmful 
interference from Federal earth stations to which frequencies in the 
bands 5850-6725 MHz, 12.7-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14.5 GHz, 27.5-30 GHz, 
and 47.2-48.2 GHz have previously been assigned even though there 
are no Federal FSS or MSS allocations in these bands.
    (d) Mobile applications in the non-Federal FSS. Federal Earth 
Stations on Vessels (ESVs), Vehicle Mounted Earth Stations (VMES), 
and Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA) may also operate in 
accordance with footnotes NG52, NG54, NG55, NG180, NG181, NG183, 
NG187, and US133.

    26. Under this proposal the Commission would not place Federal FSS 
and MSS allocations in the Federal Table as shown in Appendix A of the 
NPRM. The footnote it proposes to add to the Table of Allocations under 
this approach (the ``interference protection approach'') would permit 
Federal earth stations in communication with non-Federal space stations 
to receive interference protection equivalent to that afforded non-
Federal earth stations in the commercial satellite bands requested by 
NTIA. In addition to restricting Federal earth stations to operating 
with non-Federal satellites as the allocation approach does, this 
footnote would provide interference protection to the Federal earth 
stations under the condition that they comply with the Commission's 
technical rules. Under the interference protection approach the bands 
will not contain a Federal FSS or MSS allocation in the Federal Table 
and would not be considered shared Federal/non-Federal bands. Federal 
agencies authorized by NTIA to operate earth stations in these bands 
would operate on the same basis as Commission-licensed non-Federal 
earth stations, so long as the Federal agency's operations are 
consistent with part 25 of the Commission's rules. Federal agencies 
would, for example, have interference protection against later-entering 
FCC licensees that they do not currently enjoy. The interference 
protection approach would entail coordination procedures similar to 
those proposed under the allocation approach but, under either 
approach, the Commission seeks to ensure parity in the context of 
future rulemaking proceedings affecting these bands. It seeks comment 
on those aspects of the proposed approaches.
    27. As with the allocation approach described, successful 
implementation of the interference protection approach will require 
agreement by NTIA and the Commission on coordination procedures that 
Federal agencies would follow for authorizing Federal earth stations. 
The Commission seeks comment on whether the process described with 
regard to the allocation approach should be followed for Federal 
agencies to obtain approval to use an earth station in these bands. 
This process would require Federal agencies to request approval from 
NTIA to set up an earth station, NTIA or the Federal agency to 
coordinate the earth station in bands shared with terrestrial users and 
for non-conforming earth stations, NTIA to send the request to the 
Commission, and the Commission to place the request on public notice. 
The Commission seeks comment on the use of these procedures in 
association with the interference protection approach.
    28. While the Commission recognizes that the interference 
protection approach differs from the plan suggested in the NTIA 
petition, it also believes that it will meet the objective of the NTIA 
petition--to provide interference protection to Federal earth stations 
and to place Federal earth stations on an equal footing with earth 
stations licensed by the Commission. Moreover, the Commission believes 
that the interference protection approach is well suited to meeting the 
four objectives it believes are necessary for the success of any policy 
guiding Federal use of commercial satellite networks and we seek 
comment on this tentative conclusion.
    29. Because Federal and non-Federal earth station operators will be 
communicating with the same Commission-approved space stations, the 
Commission seeks to ensure parity between Federal and non-Federal earth 
stations. The technical and coordination requirements contained in part 
25 of the Commission's rules are designed to prevent interference 
between users of the satellite bands and should apply to all earth 
station users, both Federal and non-Federal. To facilitate the 
harmonious sharing of the bands among all users, the proposed footnote 
explicitly conditions protected operation of Federal earth stations in 
these bands on the earth stations complying with part 25 of the 
Commission's rules. The Commission seeks comment on this approach.
    30. Under the interference protection approach, no Federal 
allocation would be added to the satellite bands, and thus those 
satellite frequency bands that are currently exclusively non-Federal 
would not become shared Federal/non-Federal spectrum. Because the 
Federal and non-Federal earth stations both communicate with the same 
commercial satellites, it is important that the satellite network as a 
whole remain under the Commission's oversight, even when the authority 
to operate the Federal and non-Federal earth stations is granted by 
different entities. This approach would continue to ensure the 
effective regulation by the Commission of the space and earth segments 
provided by commercial space stations. The Commission seeks comment on 
this view.
    31. As discussed, under our ex parte rules, presentations by NTIA 
are normally exempt from ex parte restrictions in matters involving 
shared jurisdiction. Unlike other parties, NTIA is able to make 
presentations to the Commission in its role as a co-regulator without 
disclosing the content of the presentations on the record at the time 
it makes each presentation. Even when the Commission makes NTIA 
materials public, other parties may not have the opportunity to respond 
to the presentation's content prior to adoption of the Commission's 
rulemaking action unless NTIA submits the information into the record 
beforehand. If the Commission adopts the interference protection 
approach it would not add a Federal allocation to these bands, but 
Federal agencies would be on an equal footing with non-Federal users. 
To ensure this parity in the context of

[[Page 39206]]

rulemaking proceedings affecting these bands, the Commission seeks 
comment on whether the exemption from ex parte disclosure requirements 
should apply to any presentations made by NTIA on behalf of Federal 
agencies using or seeking to use earth stations under our proposed 
rules herein.
    32. The interference protection approach would avoid subjecting 
non-Federal earth station applicants to new licensing procedures, such 
as additional approval and coordination requirements. As discussed, 
license applications in bands shared with Federal users are, in 
general, coordinated with NTIA. Under the interference protection 
approach, the satellite bands that are exclusively non-Federal would 
not acquire a Federal allocation and therefore will not become shared 
Federal/non-Federal bands. As a result, the Commission proposes not to 
coordinate license applications with NTIA in these bands. Rather, it 
proposes that Federal earth stations listed in the Commission's 
publicly-available database will be protected from interference in the 
same manner as non-Federal stations. The Commission seeks comment on 
this approach.
    33. There are a number of bands allocated for the FSS included in 
the NTIA petition that have Federal allocations. For example, the 
13.75-14 GHz portion of the extended Ku-band is shared with Federal 
radars and NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. The Ka-band 
downlink has a Federal co-primary FSS allocation that is restricted to 
use at three earth station locations. The 48.2-50.2 GHz portion of the 
V-band has a primary Federal FSS allocation. The Commission is not 
proposing under the interference protection approach to change the 
application of the coordination process with NTIA with regard to these 
and other shared bands with Federal and non-Federal allocations.
    34. The Commission believes that the interference protection 
approach can provide assurance that the Commission's rules and 
practices will be applied in a consistent manner regardless of whether 
the applicant is a Federal agency or a non-Federal entity that owns and 
operates the earth station communicating with a non-Federal space 
station. Our proposed footnote would condition protected operation of 
Federal earth stations in these bands on conformance with part 25 of 
the Commission's rules. If a Federal agency obtains approval from NTIA 
to operate an earth station in these bands and the earth station does 
not operate in conformance with our rules, the Commission would remove 
it from our database. These non-compliant stations would operate on a 
non-interference basis and would have to accept any interference from 
non-Federal stations--just as is the case today. This will provide an 
incentive for Federal earth stations to comply with the Commission's 
rules to mitigate the interference potential to both Federal and non-
Federal stations. The Commission seeks comment on additional actions 
the Commission can take to provide assurance that Federal agencies will 
comply with the Commission's rules when using earth stations in these 
bands.
    35. As mentioned, the Commission's part 25 rules permit operation 
of VMES, ESV, and ESAA in a number of FSS bands. The footnote it 
proposes under the interference protection approach would allow Federal 
agencies to operate VMES, ESV, and ESAA on an interference protected 
basis to the same extent as non-Federal licensees. Federal agencies 
would be expected to comply with all of the part 25 rules pertaining to 
VMES, ESV and ESAA and with the footnotes to the Allocation Table 
regarding VMES, ESV, and ESAA. The Commission seeks comment on this 
proposal.
    36. The Commission seeks comment on the costs and benefits of the 
interference protection approach. Do commenters agree with our 
observation that this interference protection approach would satisfy 
the four key objectives we believe are necessary to the establishment 
of a successful policy guiding Federal use of commercial satellite 
networks? Would this approach meet the needs of Federal users for 
protected access to the commercial satellite bands? The Commission 
likewise seeks comment on the process it proposes for Federal users to 
obtain approval to operate earth stations in these satellite bands. 
Would the process sufficiently protect the interest of non-Federal 
licensees in both the FSS and other services operating in these bands? 
Would the process provide the flexibility needed for Federal users to 
effectively make use of the commercial satellite services? Should the 
Commission take additional steps to ensure that non-Federal users are 
protected from harmful interference from Federal earth stations? Are 
there economic costs associated with the interference protection 
approach which should be considered?

B. Federal Space Stations in 399.9-400.05 MHz MSS Band

    37. NTIA has requested that the Commission modify footnote US319 of 
the Allocation Table to allow Federal space stations (i.e. satellites) 
to operate in the 399.9-400.05 MHz band. This band is allocated to the 
MSS and the Radionavigation-Satellite Service on a primary basis in 
both the Federal and non-Federal Table. US319 prevents Federal space 
stations from operating in this band even though there is a co-primary 
Federal MSS allocation. NTIA requests that the footnote be modified to 
delete the 399.9-400.05 MHz band thereby allowing Federal satellites to 
operate in this band. According to NTIA, the allocation change will 
allow some applications to be shifted from the Argos satellite system 
operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
to the 399.9-400.05 MHz band. NTIA claims that this will result in 
lower interference, higher capacity, and improved reliability and 
service for both the applications that continue to use Argos as well as 
the applications on the new satellite network to be deployed in the 
399.9-400.05 MHz spectrum. There currently are no Commission licensees 
or applicants for this band.
    38. The Commission proposes to modify US319 and to renumber this 
footnote in frequency order as US46. No MSS systems have been deployed 
or authorized in the 399.9-400.05 MHz band since the allocation was 
made almost twenty years ago and there are no pending applications or 
other proposed uses for this band. Given that the band has only a 150 
kilohertz bandwidth, the band is not suitable for mobile broadband or 
most other applications. Rather than have the band lie fallow, the 
Commission tentatively concludes that the public interest is best 
served by allowing a Federal satellite system to be operated in this 
band so that the spectrum does not lay fallow. The Commission seeks 
comment on this proposal.
    39. The Commission seeks comment on the cost and benefits of making 
this amendment to US319. While no MSS systems currently operate in the 
399.9-400.05 MHz band, other parties may have interest in operating 
satellite systems in this band in the future. Given this possibility, 
the Commission seeks comment on whether operation of a Federal MSS 
system in this band would preclude operation of non-Federal MSS systems 
in the band in the future. It also recognizes that interference may 
occur from a Federal MSS system operating in 399.9-400.05 MHz to other 
nearby frequency bands. The 400.15-401 MHz band is also allocated for 
MSS while the 335.4-399.9 MHz band has a Federal fixed and mobile 
allocation. NTIA would be responsible for ensuring that any new Federal 
space stations

[[Page 39207]]

authorized in the 399.9-400.05 MHz band will not cause harmful 
interference to Federal systems operating in Federal allocations. The 
Commission seeks comment on whether a Federal MSS system operating in 
the 399.9-400.05 MHz band would cause harmful interference to systems 
operating in frequency bands allocated for use by non-Federal systems 
and, if so, what mitigation techniques are possible.

C. Spectrum Access for Commercial Space Operators

    40. Three frequency bands are commonly used by Federal agencies for 
communications with and tracking of space launch vehicles: 420-430 MHz, 
2200-2290 MHz, and 5650-5925 MHz. These bands currently have Federal, 
but no non-Federal, allocations supporting launches. Non-Federal use of 
these bands has been possible by granting Special Temporary 
Authorizations (STAs) for use of these bands when launches occur at 
Federal facilities. In this NPRM the Commission broadly seeks comment 
on the spectrum requirements to support development of the commercial 
launch sector. It is noted that the Commission has long regulated 
communication involving satellites. For purposes of this portion of the 
NPRM, however, our scope is limited to spectrum used during launches.
    41. The Commission could take a number of different regulatory 
approaches to address the spectrum requirements of the commercial space 
sector. For example, it could modify the Allocation Table to include a 
non-Federal co-primary allocation for the 2200-2290 MHz and 5650-5925 
MHz bands with a footnote providing for coordination with Federal 
operations in these bands for communications and tracking during 
launches. Alternatively, it could add a footnote to the Allocation 
Table to allow non-Federal use of certain Federal bands when supporting 
Federal launch missions or when conducting launches from Federal 
facilities. The Commission could also look to the 2360-2395 MHz band to 
satisfy the commercial launch sector spectrum requirements as this 
spectrum is currently shared on a co-equal basis for Federal and non-
Federal aeronautical mobile telemetry uses. It seeks comment on the 
relative merits of each of these approaches. It also seeks comment on 
whether a non-Federal allocation in the 420-430 MHz band is necessary 
to support commercial launches. The Commission believes this action is 
necessary to support the forecasted increase in the number of 
commercial launches in the future. It seeks comment on these views.
    42. Anticipating the need for non-Federal spectrum for 
communications for commercial launches, the Commission in 1990 set 
aside spectrum in the 2310-2390 MHz band for telemetry and telecommand 
use during commercial launches. In the intervening years the Commission 
has not authorized use of this spectrum for launches. Instead, 
commercial launches in the United States have continued to rely on 
Federal spectrum authorized by NTIA.
    43. Recently, two launch vehicle manufacturers have applied to the 
Commission for access to Federal spectrum during commercial launches. 
The Commission is able to grant special temporary authority (STA) under 
the part 5 experimental licensing rules to commercial entities to 
operate in these Federal bands on a non-interference basis for a 
maximum of six months. This means that the experimental STA grantees 
are not allowed to cause interference to and must accept interference 
from Federal users of the band that are operating with authorizations. 
Because these bands have a Federal allocation, the Commission 
coordinates these experimental STAs with NTIA. Once these STAs have 
been coordinated with NTIA, the potential for interference to or from 
Federal systems to commercial launch operations is minimized.
    44. Given the expected increase in commercial space flights, the 
continued use of experimental STAs for the radio spectrum needed for 
launches may create uncertainty. Because there is no non-Federal 
allocation allowing the use of these frequencies, each request to 
operate on these frequencies must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, 
with no guarantee that one can be granted for any given launch. Given 
that a single launch can cost millions of dollars, commercial launch 
providers should not have to assume the risk that launches may have to 
be postponed or cancelled if an experimental STA is not timely granted. 
Even if an experimental STA is granted, the grantee must contend with 
the uncertainty of non-interference status. Communications links that 
operate on a non-interference basis are not likely to be acceptable 
from a safety standpoint for future manned spaceflights. The 
experimental STA process also increases the burden on commercial launch 
providers' time and expense, since each is evaluated on a case by case 
basis. Allocation status for commercial launch providers would enable 
the Commission to develop service rules for issuing authorizations 
using well-defined application and coordination processes. The 
Commission seeks comment on these tentative conclusions as well as the 
cost to the space launch industry of not having a non-Federal 
allocation in these bands. Consequently, it is proposing, and seeking 
comment, on adding non-Federal allocations to these three bands to 
allow Commission licensees to operate in these bands on an interference 
protected basis. The Commission seeks comment on possible approaches it 
could take to provide non-Federal entities with interference protection 
in these bands, such as adding a non-Federal allocation to the bands or 
the addition of a footnote to the Allocation Table that provides non-
Federal entities with interference protection. The Commission notes 
that even these approaches require coordination with the Federal 
incumbents in the band.
    45. The Commission recognizes that identifying the non-Federal 
spectrum needs associated with launch of a launch vehicle necessarily 
raises larger questions about the respective roles of the FCC and NTIA 
in future launch scenarios. At the most basic level, whether access to 
spectrum for use during a launch requires authorization from NTIA or a 
license from the Commission will depend on whether the radio 
transmitters belong to and are operated by the U.S. government. Making 
this determination is not always straightforward. As a practical 
matter, all launch vehicles launched in the past several decades have 
been built with substantial private company involvement. All regular 
commercial launches within the United States have been conducted from 
launch facilities owned by the Federal Government. Payloads launched 
from Federal launch facilities have included commercial communications 
satellites and satellites owned and operated by Federal agencies such 
as the Department of Defense and NOAA. Because multiple satellites can 
be launched into space on a single launch vehicle, both government and 
non-government payloads have been included on the same launch. There 
have also been several instances of Federal Government-owned equipment 
or sensors on commercial communications satellites. Given that Federal 
agencies are required to use commercial space services where possible, 
the Commission believes that there will be increasing Federal reliance 
on non-Federal operations.
    46. The Commission seeks comment on how to determine whether a 
given launch is non-Federal or Federal for purposes of licensing 
spectrum for use

[[Page 39208]]

during a launch. According to the Communications Act, the Commission 
has authority to license radio stations except those ``belonging to and 
operated by the United States.'' Spectrum use by radio equipment 
belonging to or operated by Federal agencies is authorized by NTIA 
instead of licensed by the Commission. How easy or difficult has it 
been in practice to determine whether use of spectrum during launches 
should be licensed by the Commission or authorized by NTIA? How should 
factors such as the nature of the payload, the location of the launch, 
the provider of the launch vehicle, and whether the FAA classifies the 
launch as commercial be taken into account in making this 
determination?
    47. Making non-governmental allocations within the 420-430 MHz, 
2200-2290 MHz, and 5650-5925 MHz bands would be a first step to issuing 
licenses to commercial operators for use during launches. After the 
allocations are adopted, the Commission would have to open a proceeding 
to create service rules for non-Federal launches. It recognizes the 
critical nature of some of the Federal operations performed using these 
frequency bands, and realized that service rules would have to be 
carefully crafted to ensure that the commercial space launch operations 
do not interfere with the important Federal operations in these bands, 
particularly as the commercial launch sector expands. Accordingly, any 
service rules would be developed in close coordination with NTIA and 
the Department of Defense to assure the continued certainty that this 
spectrum remains available for priority use by critical systems. The 
FCC is committed to ensuring that our rules would require technical 
specifications, eligibility requirements, and coordination procedures 
necessary to preserve the nation's defense capabilities. Adoption of 
these service rules will allow the Commission to issue licenses to 
commercial launch operators for spectrum for use during launches 
without the uncertainty of operating on a non-interference basis. 
Because the bands would be shared Federal/non-Federal bands, use of 
spectrum for commercial space launches would be coordinated with the 
NTIA. In the short term, because the commercial launches will occur at 
relatively few locations and will not be an everyday occurrence, we 
believe that service rules and coordination procedures can be adopted 
that will prevent harmful interference from occurring to the Federal 
services in these bands or the commercial launch operators. In adopting 
service and licensing rules for these bands we must make sure that 
Federal operations are protected. The Commission seeks comment on these 
assumptions. Furthermore, it seeks comment on whether the existing 
Federal bands are able to sustain the anticipated growth of the 
commercial launch sector. Are there alternatives to use of these bands 
that may satisfy the commercial launch requirements?
    48. What would be the costs and benefits of providing non-
governmental access within the 420-430 MHz, 2200-2290 MHz, and 5650-
5925 MHz bands? Would having access to portions of these bands meet the 
needs of commercial launch operators? What costs would be imposed on 
Federal agencies to coordinate use of the spectrum with commercial 
launch operators? Would having access to portions of these bands allow 
commercial launch operators to incur lower development costs because 
they will be able to use the same communications systems for both 
Federal and non-Federal launches? How would the costs and benefits of 
having access to portions of these bands compare with other spectrum 
bands that could be used instead of these bands? How can we best ensure 
that the anticipated growth of the commercial launch industry is 
sustained in the longer term?
    49. The 420-430 MHz band is used to transmit a self-destruct signal 
from ground controllers to a launch vehicle during launch. This signal 
causes the launch vehicle to self-destruct if it goes off course and 
would pose a danger to a populated area. For safety reasons this 
communications link must be extremely reliable. NTIA has authorized a 
number of frequencies throughout the 420-430 MHz band for self-destruct 
signals at different Federal launch facilities.
    50. Because the only non-Federal allocation for the 420-430 MHz 
band is for secondary amateur operations, the Commission cannot issue 
licenses that provide interference protection to commercial entities to 
use this band for self-destruct signals during launches. Commercial 
entities have not requested experimental STAs or licenses from the 
Commission for self-destruct signals in the 420-430 MHz band to date. 
In this regard, the Commission seeks comment on the requirements 
associated with command and destruct communications for commercial 
launch vehicles and whether access to the 420-430 MHz band is 
necessary. The commercial launch vehicle has only a receiver for the 
self-destruct signal and therefore does not require a license to 
transmit. If the self-destruct signal is being transmitted from a 
government owned facility using equipment under the control of Federal 
Government employees, no license from the Commission would be required. 
Instead, an authorization from NTIA would be needed.
    51. The Commission seeks comment on whether it should make a co-
primary non-Federal aeronautical mobile allocation for the 420-430 MHz 
band for use for self-destruct signals during commercial launches. In 
addition, it seeks comment on whether we should add a footnote to the 
Allocation Table restricting use of this non-Federal allocation to 
self-destruct signals during launches. Given that no one has requested 
an experimental STA from the Commission for this band for self-destruct 
signals, is there a need for access to the 420-430 MHz band for self-
destruct signals and would the current STA process be sufficient to 
satisfy this need? As private spaceports are developed, use of Federal 
authorizations for this purpose may no longer be sufficient. Even when 
launches are conducted from Federal facilities, commercial entities 
conducting launches may want to use their own equipment for the self-
destruct communications link and therefore would need a license from 
the Commission. Given the necessity of a reliable self-destruct 
communications link for the safety of the public, the use of a non-
interference basis experimental STA would be problematic. The 
Commission acknowledges that use of this band for non-Federal space 
activities will require coordination with NTIA and Federal users of the 
band. The Commission proposes that any non-Federal use of the 
allocation should be limited to commercial launch activities. It seeks 
comment on this proposal as well as alternative bands that may be used 
for this purpose by the commercial launch sector.
    52. The 2200-2290 MHz band is used for launch telemetry--i.e. the 
sending of information from the launch vehicle to ground controllers 
during the launch. The Commission proposes two alternative approaches 
that would provide commercial launch operators access to spectrum in 
the 2200-2290 MHz band for launch telemetry. As a first alternative, it 
proposes to add a footnote to the Allocation Table providing primary 
non-Federal space operation service allocations to portions of the 
2200-2290 MHz band for launch telemetry. This footnote would require 
successful coordination of the assignment and use of the band for space 
launches with NTIA, would restrict non-Federal use of the band to

[[Page 39209]]

pre-launch testing and to use at Federal ranges, would limit non-
Federal use of the band to the 2207-2219 MHz, 2270.5-2274.5 MHz, and 
2285-2290 MHz portions of the band, and would limit non-Federal use of 
the band to channels with bandwidth of less than 5 MHz based on our 
understanding of current usage. As a second alternative the Commission 
proposes to amend the Allocation Table to add a non-Federal Space 
Operations allocation to the 2200-2290 MHz band. This allocation would 
be accompanied by a footnote to the Allocation Table with the same 
restrictions specified in the footnote proposed in the first 
alternative. The Commission seeks comment on these two alternative 
proposals. Which alternative would be better suited to meeting our goal 
of providing access to spectrum during launches for launch telemetry?
    53. Because the 2200-2290 MHz band has no non-Federal allocation, 
the Commission does not license frequencies except on a non-
interference basis. The primary Federal space operation service 
allocation enables NTIA to assign frequencies in the 2200-2290 MHz band 
to Federal agencies for telemetry during launches.
    54. The 2200-2290 MHz band is heavily used by Federal agencies. The 
Commission seeks comment on whether there is sufficient spectrum 
available in this band for use during commercial launches, and, in 
particular, whether the use of this band could sustain the anticipated 
growth of the commercial launch sector. Using the same frequencies for 
Federal and non-Federal launches has distinct advantages for the 
commercial space industry. The equipment used for communications during 
launches has been developed and is reliable. Launch communications have 
successfully shared this band with the other services present for 
numerous launches through coordination of the various operations. Many 
commercial launches will occur from facilities co-located with Federal 
launch sites such as Cape Canaveral or Vandenberg Air Force Base where 
this sharing has been accomplished. In the future, the same companies 
will likely conduct launches for both Federal agencies and private 
entities and eventually likely transition to commercial space ports 
that are completely independent of Federal operations. The Commission 
seeks comment on whether requiring industry to have the capability to 
conduct communications in different bands depending on whether the 
launch is considered Federal or non-Federal would place an expensive 
burden on these companies. Providing access to spectrum that can 
sustain the short and long term needs of the commercial launch industry 
is in accordance with the policy of the United States government to 
develop a vibrant commercial space industry.
    55. In both of the alternative proposals the Commission proposes 
that non-Federal use of the bands for space launches be limited to the 
2207-2219 MHz, 2270.5-2274.5 MHz, and 2285-2290 MHz portions of the 
band. It has proposed this limitation based on our understanding of 
current usage. The Commission seeks comment on limiting non-Federal use 
to these portions of the band for space launches. Can limiting non-
Federal use to this portion of the band support the expected growth of 
the commercial launch industry? It has also proposed to limit non-
Federal use of these bands to communication channels with bandwidths of 
less than 5 megahertz based on our understanding of current usage. The 
Commission seeks comment on this limitation. In addition, it has 
proposed to limit non-Federal use of this band for space launches to 
pre-launch testing and for launches conducted at Federal ranges. The 
Commission proposes this restriction to limit the potential for 
interference to Federal operations to a few locations. As the 
commercial space ports are established that are independent of Federal 
operations would this restriction unduly limit the future growth of the 
commercial space launch industry?
    56. As mentioned, in 1990 the Commission made six frequencies in 
the 2310-2390 MHz band available for both Federal and non-Federal use 
for telemetry and telecommand of launch and reentry vehicles. The 
Commission later reduced these to three frequencies in the 2360-2395 
MHz band. The 2360-2395 MHz band is primarily used for aeronautical 
telemetry and telecommand operations for flight testing of aircraft and 
missiles. The Commission seeks comment generally on the use of these 
frequencies as an alternative to the heavily used 2200-2290 MHz band 
for communications during launches. In the time since the Commission 
made this spectrum available for launch telemetry, the intensity of use 
of this band for aeronautical telemetry for flight testing may have 
significantly changed. Does the current and expected future use of the 
2360-2395 MHz band for aeronautical telemetry for flight testing make 
it unsuitable for communications associated with launch activity? What 
are the impediments to use of this band for commercial launches in the 
future? What are the spectrum requirements of the commercial launch 
sector in the short and long term and are the available frequencies in 
this band sufficient to meet, at least in part, these requirements? 
Because the number of frequencies available for launch vehicle 
telemetry and telecommand has been halved, would the needed data 
capacity be available for telemetry and telecommand during commercial 
launches? Should the Commission make the entire 2360-2395 MHz band 
available for telemetry and telecommand during commercial launches? 
Will the development of communications equipment for use on launch 
vehicles for this band place a significant economic burden on the 
commercial space industry? Prior to the Commission making frequencies 
in the 2310-2395 MHz band available for space launch telemetry, several 
commenters stated that it would be more cost efficient to use the same 
frequencies for both Federal and non-Federal launches and that the band 
should not be used until all Federal launch facilities had transitioned 
to the band. The Commission seeks comment on whether these concerns are 
still valid. Are there other reasons why the 2360-2395 MHz band is not 
a viable alternative to the 2200-2290 MHz band for telemetry during 
launches?
    57. Looking beyond the 2360-2395 MHz band, the Commission seeks 
comment on alternatives to the use of the 2200-2290 MHz band for launch 
communications. It realizes that as the demand for spectrum increases, 
finding spectrum for new applications has become more difficult. That 
is especially the case for an application such as the space operation 
service, which involves transmitting high powered signals from high 
altitudes that may result in interference over a large area. Because 
these communications will take place from space, must the spectrum used 
be internationally allocated to the space operation service (space-to-
Earth)? There is meager spectrum allocated for this purpose. Assuming 
that another suitable frequency band could be identified, would 
obtaining an international space allocation be a long process with 
uncertain success?
    58. The 5650-5925 MHz band is used for radar tracking of a launch 
vehicle during launch. Because the radiolocation allocation in the 
5650-5925 MHz band is Federal, the Commission can only license 
commercial entities to use the band to track launch vehicles on a non-
interference basis. Federal radar facilities are able to track launches 
from government owned launch facilities

[[Page 39210]]

under current NTIA authorizations even for commercial launches. 
However, NTIA may not authorize radar transponders on commercial launch 
vehicles. In the future private spaceports may need to establish non-
Federal radar facilities to track commercial launch vehicles or 
spacecraft. Even for commercial launches from government run launch 
sites, the commercial space operator may want to develop and use its 
own radar facilities to track the launch vehicle. Given the need for 
radar transponders on commercial launch vehicles or for non-government 
radar tracking of launch vehicles, the Commission makes two alternative 
proposals for providing non-Federal access to the 5650-5925 MHz band 
for tracking of launch vehicles. As a first proposal it proposes to add 
a footnote to the Allocation Table providing primary non-Federal 
Radiolocation service allocations to portions of the 2200-2290 MHz band 
for launch telemetry. This footnote would require successful 
coordination of the assignment and use of the band for space launches 
with NTIA and would restrict non-Federal Radiolocation use of the band 
to the tracking of launch vehicles during launches and for pre-launch 
testing. The second alternative proposal would add a non-Federal 
radiolocation allocation to the 5650-5925 MHz band with footnote 
containing the same restrictions. Is only a portion of the band needed 
for the tracking during launches? What are the spectrum and operational 
requirements for radar tracking of commercial launch vehicles in the 
short and longer term? Could launch vehicles instead be tracked in 
other radiolocation bands, whether Federal, non-Federal, or shared? 
Would the addition of a non-Federal radiolocation allocation introduce 
any compatibility issues with Intelligent Transportation Systems that 
are significantly different than compatibility with the existing 
Federal radiolocation allocation? The Commission also proposes to 
restrict non-Federal use of this band to use for launch activities. It 
seeks comment on these proposals.

Summary of the Notice of Inquiry

    59. While the commercial space operations portion of the NPRM has 
focused on use of the 420-430 MHz, 2200-2290 MHz, and 5650-5925 MHz 
bands during launches, the Commission understands that the commercial 
space industry may have additional needs for spectrum in the future. In 
this Notice of Inquiry, the Commission launches an inquiry into the 
future spectrum requirements of the commercial space industry. It seeks 
comment broadly on what other spectrum needs may be important as the 
commercial space sector continues to develop. What spectrum will be 
required as commercial spaceports are developed where the established 
communications infrastructure that is in place at the government-owned 
launch facilities is not present? Are there communications needs during 
other portions of space missions after the launch such as during re-
entry or the ``on orbit'' phase of a mission that require changes in 
allocations? Are there any other frequency bands, whether Federal, non-
Federal, or shared that the commercial space industry will need access 
to? Can some of the spectrum needs of the commercial space industry be 
satisfied by purchasing or leasing spectrum from other licensees? Are 
there any portions of the Commission's rules that will need to be 
amended to keep pace with this rapidly changing industry?
    60. While previous commercial launches have been conventional 
rockets, several companies plan to take passengers on suborbital 
spaceflights using spacecraft that have more in common with planes than 
rockets. For example, Virgin Galactic's spacecraft will be carried 
aloft suspended from a plane. The spacecraft will then be released by 
the plane and a rocket engine will be fired to propel it into space. 
The spacecraft will then glide back to earth for an unpowered landing 
in the same manner as NASA's space shuttle. XCOR Aerospace's spacecraft 
will take off on a horizontal runway like a plane, fire a rocket engine 
to propel it into space, and then glide back to earth for a horizontal 
landing. The spacecraft are only expected to reach altitudes of 100 km 
as compared to orbits of over 300 km for low earth orbit satellites and 
space stations. Given the airplane-like qualities of these spacecraft 
and their lower maximum altitudes, they may have different 
communications needs than conventional launches. Because the spacecraft 
will glide back to earth will their frequency use have to be 
coordinated over a much larger area than conventional launches and 
reentries? Will access to the spectrum used by commercial aviation 
under the part 87 Aviation Services be more appropriate for all or part 
of the spacecraft's flight? Would the Commission need to initiate a 
proceeding to modify part 87 to meet the needs of these commercial 
spacecraft? The Commission seeks comment generally on the communication 
needs of these spacecraft.
    61. Bigelow Aerospace has announced plans to have a commercial 
space station in orbit as early as 2016. Presumably, a space station 
with human habitation will need reliable communications with earth 
based ground stations. The Commission seeks comment generally on the 
communications needs of such a space station. Will additional 
allocations of spectrum be necessary to support a commercial space 
station? What modifications to the Commission's rules will be needed to 
support the communication needs of the space station?

Procedural Matters

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    62. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA),\1\ the 
Commission has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small 
entities by the policies and rules proposed in this Notice of Proposed 
Rule Making (NPRM). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. 
Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed 
by the deadlines for comments provided on the first page of this NPRM. 
The Commission will send a copy of this NPRM, including this IRFA, to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
(SBA).\2\ In addition, the NPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be 
published in the Federal Register.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601-612, has been 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (SBREFA), Public Law 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
    \2\ See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
    \3\ See id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    63. The United States government and commercial entities have 
filled distinct roles in regard to activities in space. However, in 
recent years the roles of the Federal Government and private sector 
have become blurred. Federal policy directs agencies to use commercial 
satellite services unless specific mission requirements cannot be met, 
and many Federal agencies now rely on commercial communication 
satellites for service. NASA has contracted with commercial entities to 
carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), and in the future 
commercial spacecraft are expected to carry crew members to the ISS. 
Also, several privately owned spaceports have been licensed for future

[[Page 39211]]

launches. As a result, the Commission's rules must evolve to reflect 
the increased reliance of Federal agencies on commercial space services 
and the continued development of the commercial space sector. The 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposes several modifications to 
the Table of Frequency Allocations in Section 2.106 of our rules 
(Allocation Table) to reflect this new reality.
    64. The NPRM makes two alternative proposals to modify the 
Allocation Table to provide interference protection for Fixed-Satellite 
Service (FSS) and Mobile-Satellite Service (MSS) earth stations 
operated by Federal agencies under authorizations granted by the 
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in 
certain frequency bands. These frequency bands which are used to 
provide commercial satellite service are: 3.6-4.2 GHz, 5.85-6.725 GHz, 
10.7-12.2 GHz, 12.7-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14.5 GHz, 18.3-19.3 GHz, 19.7-20.2 
GHz, 27.5-30.0 GHz, 37.5-39.5 GHz and 47.2-50.2 GHz. Federal agencies 
are not, for the most part, currently able to operate their own earth 
stations on an interference-protected basis in these bands to use 
commercial satellite services. Under a first proposal, the Commission 
would add a co-primary Federal FSS or Federal MSS allocation in the 
Allocation Table for these frequency bands. In conjunction with this 
modification of the Allocation Table, we would add a footnote to the 
Allocation Table restricting primary use of Federal earth stations in 
these bands to communication with non-Federal satellites. A second 
alternative proposal would modify the Allocation Table by adding a 
footnote that gives Federal earth stations communicating with non-
Federal satellites in these frequency bands interference protection 
equivalent to that afforded to non-Federal earth stations. The Federal 
earth stations will receive interference protection only if they 
operate in accordance with the Commission's rules. Either of these 
proposals would allow Federal agencies to obtain the same rights to 
interference protection accorded to Commission licensees when using 
earth stations to communicate with commercial satellite networks.
    65. The NPRM also proposes to amend a footnote to the Allocation 
Table to permit a Federal MSS system to operate in the 399.9-400.05 MHz 
band. Deployment of this Federal system will allow traffic to be 
migrated from the existing Argos Federal MSS system, thereby resulting 
in less interference and improved service and reliability for users of 
both the existing Argos and the new Federal MSS systems. No Federal or 
non-Federal MSS systems have been deployed in this band since it was 
allocated in 1993. This proposed allocation will permit long vacant 
spectrum to be put to an important use.
    66. The NPRM also makes alternative proposals to modify the 
Allocation Table to provide access to spectrum on an interference 
protected basis to Commission licensees for use during the launch of 
launch vehicles (i.e. rockets).\4\ During launches, spectrum in three 
frequency bands is typically used to send information from the launch 
vehicle to controllers on ground (2200-2290 MHz), send a self-destruct 
signal to the launch vehicle if needed (420-430 MHz), and to track the 
launch vehicle by radar (5650-5925 MHz). Because all of these frequency 
bands have only Federal allocations for these purposes, the Commission 
can not issue licenses for these bands except on a non-interference 
basis. As a result, commercial space launch operators are not allowed 
to cause interference to and must accept interference from Federal 
users in these bands. Under a first proposal, the Commission would add 
a footnote to the Allocation Table providing primary non-Federal 
allocations to the 2200-2290 MHz and 5650-5925 MHz bands. The footnote 
would restrict the allocations to use during space launches and pre-
launch testing at Federal ranges and would require successful 
coordination of the assignment and use of the band for space launches 
with NTIA. Under a second proposal the Commission would add a non-
Federal allocation to the Allocation Table along with a footnote with 
the same restrictions as the first proposal. In addition, the NPRM 
seeks comment on whether to make a non-Federal allocation for the 420-
430 MHz band. Co-primary non-Federal allocations for these bands would 
allow the Commission to later adopt service and technical rules that 
facilitate the issuance of licenses to commercial entities for these 
bands that provide them with interference protection. This will provide 
commercial entities access to these important spectrum resources as 
more commercial launches are conducted and private spaceports are 
established.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ A launch vehicle is a rocket used to launch a payload into 
space.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Legal Basis

    67. The proposed action is authorized under Sections 4(i), 301, 
303(c), 303(f), and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as 
amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 301, 303(c), 303(f), and 303(r).

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rules Will Apply

    68. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted.\5\ The RFA generally 
defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the 
terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small 
governmental jurisdiction.'' \6\ In addition, the term ``small 
business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' 
under the Small Business Act.\7\ A small business concern is one which: 
(1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its 
field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria 
established by the SBA.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
    \6\ 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
    \7\ 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition 
of ``small business concern'' in 15 U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to the 
RFA, the statutory definition of a small business applies ``unless 
an agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the 
Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public 
comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are 
appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes such 
definition(s) in the Federal Register.'' 5 U.S.C. 601(3).
    \8\ Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632 (1996).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    69. Satellite Telecommunications and All Other Telecommunications. 
Two economic census categories address the satellite industry. The 
first category has a small business size standard of $15 million or 
less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules.\9\ The second has a 
size standard of $25 million or less in annual receipts.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517410.
    \10\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517919.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    70. The category of Satellite Telecommunications ``comprises 
establishments primarily engaged in providing telecommunications 
services to other establishments in the telecommunications and 
broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications 
signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite 
telecommunications.'' \11\ Census Bureau data for 2007 shows that 512 
Satellite Telecommunications firms operated for the entire year.\12\ Of 
this total, 464 firms had annual receipts of under $10 million, and 18 
firms had receipts of

[[Page 39212]]

$10 million to $24,999,999.\13\ Consequently, the Commission estimates 
that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications firms are small 
entities that might be affected by our action.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, 517410 
Satellite Telecommunications.
    \12\ See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&-_lang=en.
    \13\ See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&-_lang=en.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    71. The second category, i.e. ``All Other Telecommunications'' 
comprises ``establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized 
telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications 
telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes 
establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal 
stations and associated facilities connected with one or more 
terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, 
and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. 
Establishments providing Internet services or voice over Internet 
protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications 
connections are also included in this industry.'' \14\ For this 
category, Census Bureau data for 2007 shows that there were a total of 
2,383 firms that operated for the entire year.\15\ Of this total, 2,347 
firms had annual receipts of under $25 million and 12 firms had annual 
receipts of $25 million to $49, 999,999.\16\ Consequently, the 
Commission estimates that the majority of All Other Telecommunications 
firms are small entities that might be affected by our action.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517919&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search.
    \15\ http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&-_lang=en.
    \16\ http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&-_lang=en.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    72. Commercial Space Transportation. The North American Industry 
Classification System does not have a discrete code for commercial 
space transportation per se. However, it does have the following codes 
that collectively capture entities engaged in commercial space 
transportation: 336414, ``Guided Missile and Space Vehicle 
Manufacturing,'' 336415, ``Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Propulsion 
Unit and Parts Manufacturing,'' and 336419, ``Other Guided Missile and 
Space Vehicle Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing.'' The Small 
Business Administration (SBA) has defined small business entities 
engaged in the aforementioned activities as those employing no more 
than 1,000 employees.\17\ Further, the SBA does not apply a size 
standard based on maximum annual receipts to define small business 
entities engaged in the above industries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS codes 336414, 336415, 336419.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    73. The FCC believes that the following business entities are the 
principle entities currently comprising the commercial space 
transportation launch operator industry in the United States: The 
Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Space Exploration 
Technologies, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Sea Launch Company, 
L.L.C. In addition, Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace have announced 
plans for suborbital manned space flights.\18\ NASA has agreements with 
three companies to design and develop human space flight capabilities: 
Sierra Nevada Corporation, Space Exploration Technologies, and The 
Boeing Company.\19\ Because the commercial space industry is a nascent 
industry, it is difficult to state whether additional entities will 
enter the industry and how many and which entities will succeed. We do 
not have data on the size of these entities, and consequently, cannot 
classify them as large or small entities. We therefore cannot reach 
definite conclusions as to the number of small entities that will be 
affected by the rules proposed in this NPRM and we shall assume that a 
significant number of small entities will be affected by these 
regulations. We request comment on this assumption.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ See Virgin Galactic, http://www.virgingalactic.com; XCOR 
Aerospace: New Technology for Space, http://www.xcor.com/.
    \19\ Bob Granath, NASA Takes Strides Forward to Launch Americans 
from U.S. Soil, Jan. 25, 2013, available at http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/cpc_apollo_5_prt.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements

    74. The NPRM proposes no reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

E. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    75. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, 
which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) 
The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or 
timetables that take into account the resources available to small 
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; 
(3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an 
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small 
entities.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ See 5 U.S.C. 603(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    76. In a first of two alternative proposals, the NPRM proposes to 
add a co-primary Federal FSS or Federal MSS allocation in the Table of 
Frequency Allocations in Sec.  2.106 of our rules (Allocation Table) 
for a number of spectrum bands used for commercial satellite service. 
In conjunction with this modification of the Allocation Table, we will 
add a footnote to the Allocation Table restricting primary use of 
Federal earth stations in these bands to communication with non-Federal 
satellites. This will not directly change the regulatory burdens on 
Commission licensees. Commission licensees will continue to follow the 
same licensing procedures and be subject to the existing technical 
rules when operating in these bands. Because the bands will have a co-
primary Federal allocation, under existing coordination procedures the 
Commission would be expected to coordinate license applications in 
these bands with NTIA. This will result in increased processing time 
for applications for Commission licenses for these bands. We are not 
able to quantify the economic impact this increased processing time 
will have on small entities applying for Commission licenses.
    77. Alternatively, the NPRM proposes to modify the Allocation Table 
by adding a footnote that gives Federal earth stations communicating 
with non-Federal satellites in a number of bands used for commercial 
satellite service interference protection equivalent to that afforded 
to non-Federal earth stations. The Federal earth stations will receive 
interference protection only if they operate in accordance with the 
Commission's rules. This proposal does not change the regulatory 
burdens on Commission licensees. Commission licensees will continue to 
follow the same licensing procedures and be subject to the existing 
technical rules when operating in these bands. Unlike the first 
proposal, a Federal allocation will not be added to these bands and 
there will be no new requirement to coordinate Commission licenses with 
NTIA. This alternate proposal should have no significant economic 
impact on small entities.
    78. The NPRM also proposes to amend a footnote to the Allocation 
Table to permit a Federal MSS system to operate in the 399.9-400.05 MHz 
band. Although this band currently has

[[Page 39213]]

a non-Federal MSS allocation and the Commission has adopted service and 
technical rules for the band, the Commission has issued no MSS licenses 
for the band and no one has applied to use this band. While it is 
possible that a small entity may apply for a license for this band in 
the future, considering that it has been allocated for the MSS since 
1993 with no interest from satellite operators we believe it is 
unlikely. However, on the chance that a satellite operator may desire 
to deploy a system in the band in the future the NPRM does ask whether 
operation of a Federal MSS system in the band will preclude a non-
Federal MSS system from also being licensed. There is a possibility 
that a Federal MSS system deployed in the band may cause harmful 
interference to Commission licensees in nearby spectrum. The NPRM asks 
whether such interference could be an issue. Given the lack of 
commercial interest in the band we expect that this proposal shall not 
have a significant economic impact on any small entity.
    79. The final section of the NPRM makes several proposals to amend 
the Allocation Table to provide interference protected access to 
spectrum for Commission licensees for the launch of launch vehicles 
(i.e. rockets). These bands do not currently have a non-Federal 
allocation for this purpose. Consequently, the Commission may only 
issue licenses for these bands on a non-interference basis. A licensee 
with non-interference status may not cause interference and must accept 
interference from those using the band in accordance with the 
Allocation Table. Adopting any of these proposals would be only a first 
step toward the Commission issuing licenses for these bands because the 
Commission would later have to adopt service and technical rules for 
the bands. However, once the Commission is able to issue licenses for 
these bands, small entities who manufacture and/or develop launch 
vehicles and spacecraft will benefit because they will be able to 
obtain licenses for spectrum that provide them with interference 
protection during launches. Consequently, we expect that these 
proposals will provide only a benefit to small entities and will have 
no significant harmful economic impact on any small entity.

F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule

    80. None.

Ordering Clauses

    81. Pursuant to Sections 4(i), 301, 303(c), 303(f), and 303(r) of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 301, 
303(c), 303(f), and 303(r), this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and 
Notice of Inquiry is adopted.
    82. The Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, 
Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration.
    83. The National Telecommunications and Infrastructure 
Administration's Petition for Rulemaking is granted to the extent 
described herein.

List of Subjects 47 CFR Parts 2

    Communications equipment, Disaster assistance, Radio.

Federal Communications Commission.
Sheryl D. Todd,
Deputy Secretary.

Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 2 as follows:

PART 2--FREQUENCY ALLOCATIONS AND RADIO TREATY MATTERS; GENERAL 
RULES AND REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 2 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, and 336, unless otherwise 
noted.

0
2. Section 2.106, the Table of Frequency Allocations, is amended as 
follows:
0
a. Pages 21-22, 26, 33-34, 37-38, 40, 42-43, 47-49, 51-52, 54, 56, and 
58 are revised.
0
b. In the list of United States (US) Footnotes, footnotes US46, US107, 
USyyy, and USzzz are added, and footnote US319 is removed.


Sec.  2.106  Table of Frequency Allocations.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:
* * * * *

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[[Page 39217]]


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[[Page 39219]]


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[[Page 39220]]


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[[Page 39221]]


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[[Page 39222]]


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[[Page 39228]]


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[[Page 39232]]


* * * * *

United States (US) Footnotes

* * * * *
    US46 In the bands 137-138 MHz, 148-150.05 MHz, 400.15-401 MHz, 
1610-1626.5 MHz, 2483.5-2500 MHz, 19.7-20.2 GHz, and 29.5-30 GHz, 
Federal stations in the mobile-satellite service shall be restricted to 
earth stations operating with non-Federal space stations and that 
comply with Part 25 of the Commission's rules.
* * * * *
    US107 In the bands 3700-4200 MHz, 5850-6725 MHz, 10.7-12.2 GHz, 
12.7-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14.5 GHz, 18.3-19.3 GHz (except as provided for 
in US334), 19.7-20.2 GHz (except as provided for in US334), 27.5-30 
GHz, 37.5-39.5 GHz, and 47.2-48.2 GHz, Federal stations in the fixed-
satellite service shall be restricted to earth stations operating with 
non-Federal space stations and that comply with Part 25 of the 
Commission's rules.
* * * * *
    USyyy In the band 2200-2290 MHz, non-Federal stations in the space 
operation service may also be authorized on a primary basis and such 
use shall be:
    (a) Restricted to transmissions in the sub-bands 2207-2219 MHz, 
2270.5-2274.5 MHz, and 2285-2290 MHz (necessary bandwidth shall be 
contained within these ranges);
    (b) limited to no greater than 5 MHz necessary bandwidth per 
channel by launch vehicles during pre-launch testing and launches at 
Federal ranges; and
    (c) subject to successful coordination of the assignment and use 
with Federal operations through NTIA.
* * * * *
    USzzz In the band 5650-5925 MHz, non-Federal stations operating in 
the radiolocation service may also be authorized on a primary basis and 
such use shall be:
    (a) Restricted to use in the tracking of launch vehicles during 
launches and pre-launch testing of launch vehicles subject to; and
    (b) subject to successful coordination of the assignment and use 
with federal operations through NTIA.

[FR Doc. 2013-15592 Filed 6-28-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P