[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 241 (Monday, December 18, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59972-59987]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-26532]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 2 and 25

[IB Docket No. 16-408; FCC 17-122]


Updates Concerning Non-Geostationary, Fixed-Satellite Service 
Systems and Related Matters

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) adopts a regulatory framework to facilitate the delivery 
of broadband services through satellite constellation networks. The 
Commission updates, clarifies and streamlines the current rules 
governing non-geostationary satellite orbit, fixed-satellite service 
systems to better reflect current technology and promote additional 
operational flexibility.

DATES: Effective January 17, 2018, except the amendments to Sec. Sec.  
25.114, 25.115, 25.146, and 25.164, which contain information 
collection requirements that have not been approved by Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB). The Commission will publish a document in 
the Federal Register announcing such OMB approval and the effective 
date of these rule amendments. The incorporation by reference of 
certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of 
the Federal Register as of January 17, 2018 except for the material 
contained in Sec.  25.146. The Commission will publish a document in 
the Federal Register announcing the approval date of this material.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Clay DeCell, [email protected], 202-
418-0803, or if concerning the information collections in this 
document, Cathy

[[Page 59973]]

Williams, [email protected], 202-418-2918.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Report 
and Order, FCC 17-122, adopted September 26, 2017, and released 
September 27, 2017. The full text of the Report and Order is available 
at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-122A1.pdf. It 
is available for inspection and copying during business hours in the 
FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW, Room 
CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities, send an email to [email protected] 
or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 
(voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

Synopsis

    The Commission continues to encourage the development of new 
broadband services to the American public, including satellite 
broadband internet access. In this Report and Order and Further Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission acts to remove regulatory 
obstacles for companies proposing to provide these services via large, 
ambitious, non-geostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO), fixed-satellite 
service (FSS) satellite systems.

17.8-18.3 GHz

    We add a secondary FSS allocation in the 17.8-18.3 GHz band. As 
further explained below, we believe that the power flux-density (PFD) 
limits we are adopting on space station transmissions in this band will 
be sufficient to protect the fixed service from harmful interference. 
In addition, while terrestrial use of this band is significant, there 
are areas, particularly rural areas, where terrestrial deployment is 
less dense and by using mitigating techniques like siting 
considerations, off-axis rejection, and shielding, we expect FSS earth 
stations will be able to operate successfully without receiving harmful 
interference. Even if a mobile-service allocation is introduced in the 
future, there would still be areas where FSS earth stations would be 
able to deploy, as terrestrial deployment would not likely cover 100 
percent of U.S. territory. If interference does occur, earth stations 
can switch to other bands not shared with terrestrial users or use 
alternative mitigation techniques. We decline to adopt a primary FSS 
allocation at this time because we wish to preserve this band as an 
unrestrained, potential growth band for the terrestrial fixed service 
in the future and because the Commission is currently studying 
potential future terrestrial operations in this band. Accordingly, we 
adopt a secondary FSS allocation in the 17.8-18.3 GHz band, subject to 
PFD limits as discussed below.
    In addition, we believe that, given the mitigation techniques 
available to FSS operators, there is no need to limit deployment to 
individually licensed earth stations. Doing so would unnecessarily 
increase licensing costs on both applicants and Commission staff. In 
the event of interference to FSS earth stations, whether individually 
or blanket licensed, FSS operators may switch to alternative 
frequencies that are not shared with the fixed service. Accordingly, to 
promote greater use of the spectrum without constraining the primary 
fixed service, we will allow blanket licensing of earth stations on a 
secondary basis in this band. In any future authorizations covering 
blanket-licensed earth stations receiving in the band 17.8-18.3 GHz, 
the Commission retains the ability to include a condition that requires 
the operator to notify its customers regarding the potential for 
receiving interference.

18.3-18.6 GHz and 19.7-20.2 GHz

    Consistent with the treatment adopted internationally and in the 
paired uplink bands, and to permit greater use of these bands, we will 
allow NGSO FSS systems to operate on an unprotected, non-interference 
basis with respect to GSO FSS networks in the 18.3-18.6 GHz and 19.7-
20.2 GHz bands, subject to international equivalent power flux-density 
(EPFD) limits as explained below.

18.8-19.3 GHz and 28.6-29.1 GHz

    We believe that preserving the 18.8-19.3 GHz and 28.6-29.1 GHz 
bands for more intensive use by burgeoning NGSO FSS systems will serve 
the public interest, particularly in light of our decision below to 
adopt a default presumption that NGSO systems must protect GSO FSS and 
GSO broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) networks in other bands. While 
ITU coordination requirements will continue to apply between filings of 
different administrations, which in turn may limit NGSO FSS operations 
in the United States, limiting the primary designation in these bands 
to NGSO FSS systems will give operators of these systems greater 
flexibility in the coordination discussions and ultimate deployment. 
Nonetheless, we believe that GSO FSS networks should be given some 
access to this band, because doing so will increase spectrum use and 
can be done compatibly with NGSO FSS operations. We therefore will 
allow GSO FSS operations in the 18.8-19.3 GHz band on an unprotected, 
non-interference basis with respect to NGSO FSS systems.
    With respect to Intelsat's assertion that any limitation of GSO FSS 
operations in the band to secondary status be applied only to service 
offered within the United States, we observe that the Commission has 
historically applied its Ka-band satellite designations to U.S.-
licensed operations around the world. While Intelsat asks that we now 
adopt a regime of priority in the 18.8-19.3 GHz band for operations 
outside the United States based on ITU filing date, we decline to do so 
here. The Commission has never previously adopted a priority regime in 
these bands that relied on the order of an operator's ITU filing. 
Notably, the ITU's Article 9 coordination procedures do not apply 
between filings from the same administration. Thus, today, the date of 
receipt of an ITU coordination request has no bearing on the priority 
relationship between two U.S.-filed satellite systems, either at the 
ITU or with the Commission. We upset no interests of existing GSO FSS 
operators by adopting a new, secondary designation for their use in the 
18.8-19.3 GHz band because under the current Commission rules U.S.-
authorized GSO FSS operations in this band have no status vis-[agrave]-
vis U.S.-authorized NGSO FSS operations anywhere in the world. Further, 
because of the importance of this NGSO FSS primary band, we agree with 
SpaceX that this designation should continue to govern the relationship 
between NGSO and GSO systems licensed by the Commission and operating 
under a U.S. ITU filing, even for operations outside the United States.
    Finally, we reject EchoStar's suggestion that we must adopt a 
``default mechanism'' in the event that NGSO FSS operators and GSO FSS 
operators do not reach an agreement on how protection of the NGSO 
system in the 18.8-19.3 GHz and 28.6-29.1 GHz bands will be achieved. 
The status of GSO FSS operations in these bands is secondary. They are 
entitled to no protection from any interference caused by NGSO FSS 
systems. If there is a dispute as to whether the level of interference 
caused by GSO FSS transmissions rises to ``harmful interference,'' and 
therefore violates their secondary status, this question may be taken 
to the Commission. Since we do not intend to modify the status of GSO 
FSS operations in these bands, we perceive no benefit to inquiring on 
this point in the Further Notice.

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19.3-19.4 GHz, 19.6-19.7 GHz, and 29.3-29.5 GHz

    Given the relatively small and fragmented nature of the 19.3-19.4 
GHz, 19.6-19.7 GHz, and 29.3-29.5 GHz band segments, we believe that 
consistent treatment with international allocations will allow for 
additional FSS operations without unduly complicating the regulatory 
environment for satellite operators. Accordingly, we will allow both 
GSO FSS and NGSO FSS operations in the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-19.7 GHz 
bands, subject to PFD limits to protect terrestrial stations as 
discussed below. Consistent with No. 5.523D of the ITU Radio 
Regulations, GSO FSS networks will be co-equal with NGSO MSS feeder 
links in this band. In addition, because both NGSO MSS feeder links and 
NGSO FSS systems have been proposed in these bands in the current 
processing rounds, sharing among them will be done under the same 
sharing mechanism of [Delta]T/T of 6 percent applicable between NGSO 
FSS systems, discussed below. This band will continue to be shared on a 
co-primary basis with the fixed service on the basis of first-in-time 
coordination. To ensure that both types of operation will be enabled, 
and consistent with international treatment, we will require NGSO FSS 
systems to operate on a secondary basis with respect to GSO FSS 
networks in these bands.
    We agree with Inmarsat, however, that permitting NGSO FSS 
operations in the 29.3-29.5 GHz uplink band at variance with global 
allocations would add regulatory complication with little apparent 
benefit because of the relatively small amount of spectrum and 
typically global nature of NGSO systems. We therefore decline this 
proposal.
    Finally, we are persuaded by commenters that FSS earth stations can 
receive in the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-19.7 GHz bands under blanket 
licenses and on a secondary basis to the fixed service, without 
imposing constraints on terrestrial stations. The same mitigation 
techniques noted by commenters regarding the 17.8-18.3 GHz band, 
including the ability to switch to alternative frequencies if 
interference were to occur, apply in this band. Even more so, any FSS 
operators wishing to ensure protection of its earth stations may go 
through the individual licensing and coordination procedure to do so. 
Accordingly, we believe that additional, secondary blanket licensing of 
earth stations is feasible in this band and revise our rules to permit 
it.

Codification of Frequency Uses

    For clarity, the Notice proposed to codify the Ka-band Plan's 
satellite designations into footnotes to the U.S. Table of Frequency 
Allocations, and to remove duplicative notes in section 25.202(a)(1), 
except with respect to those notes concerning terrestrial operations in 
the 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37.5-40 GHz bands. Similarly, the Commission 
proposed to incorporate into footnotes to the Table the remaining 
frequency-use restrictions in section 25.202(a)(1) that were not 
recently amended in the Commission's Spectrum Frontiers proceeding. 
Commenters uniformly support this proposal, which we adopt for clarity. 
As proposed, we also codify the Ka-band Plan in the 27.5 29.5 GHz band 
by removing the primary fixed and mobile service entries from the 
28.35-29.1 GHz and 29.25-29.5 GHz bands within the non-Federal Table of 
Frequency Allocations. We also add new footnote NG62 to the Allocation 
Table in order to permit incumbent fixed service licensees to continue 
to operate as authorized.
    In the Notice, the Commission also proposed to specify that, in the 
27.5-28.35 GHz band, NGSO FSS systems must operate on an unprotected, 
non-interference basis with respect to GSO FSS networks. No commenter 
opposed this proposal, which we adopt consistent with our default 
treatment of GSO and NGSO operations.
    10.7-11.7 GHz and 12.75-13.25 GHz. In moving footnotes from section 
25.202(a)(1) into the Table of Allocations, the Commission proposed to 
specify the limitation on the operation of NGSO FSS earth stations in 
the 10.7-11.7 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 12.75-13.25 GHz (Earth-to-space) 
bands as to individually licensed earth stations only, rather than to 
gateway earth stations only as currently prescribed. Commenters support 
this proposal, and none oppose it. Given the renewed interest in these 
bands by pending and authorized NGSO FSS operators, we believe that 
specifying individually licensed primary earth stations, consistent 
with our treatment of other bands shared on an equal basis with the 
fixed service, is clearer and strikes a better balance between the two 
services than a strict limitation to gateways. We therefore adopt our 
proposal.
    Parties further argue that blanket licensing of earth stations 
should be permitted on a secondary basis to the fixed service in these 
bands. We agree that blanket licensing in the 10.7-11.7 GHz downlink 
band is appropriate, but decline to allow blanket licensing in the 
12.75-13.25 GHz uplink band, where earth stations would be transmitting 
and could potentially cause interference to terrestrial stations. 
Regarding the 10.7-11.7 GHz band, the same mitigation techniques noted 
above in the 17.8-18.3 GHz, 19.3-19.4 GHz, and 19.6-19.7 GHz bands are 
available to earth station operators. In the event of harmful 
interference, operators could switch to alternative spectrum not shared 
with the fixed service, such as the adjacent 11.7-12.2 GHz band. In 
addition, any operations that require certainty of protection may be 
individually coordinated and licensed. Accordingly, to allow for 
opportunistic use without posing a risk of interference to terrestrial 
services, we will permit blanket licensing of receive earth stations in 
the 10.7-11.7 GHz band on an unprotected basis.
    FSS Frequency List. Finally, rather than attempt to reproduce in 
section 25.202(a)(1) all of the frequency bands available for FSS, 
which are already stated completely in the Table of Frequency 
Allocations in section 2.106, the Notice proposed to use this paragraph 
only to note the restrictions on FSS not codified in the Table. 
Commenters argue the frequency list should be retained as a useful and 
authoritative summary of the Table of Allocations.
    Since we are relocating most of the frequency-use restrictions in 
this paragraph to the Table of Frequency Allocations, we believe that a 
bare list of FSS frequencies, without notations of status (primary or 
secondary), other primary uses, restrictions to certain types of FSS 
systems or designations among FSS systems, coordination obligations, 
etc., would not be useful even if maintained accurately. And section 
25.202(a)(1) has not been accurate since at least 1996, and is 
incomplete today. Allocated FSS frequency bands above 50.2 GHz are 
presently omitted from section 25.202(a)(1). These omissions falsely 
imply, pursuant to section 25.202(b), that the missing frequencies are 
subject to case-by-case licensing rather than licensing under default 
service rules in section 25.217. Because of its potential to generate 
confusion and no apparent benefit, we delete the FSS frequency list in 
section 25.202(a)(1). We also reject SpaceX's suggestion to note the 
Ka-band designations in both section 25.202(a)(1) and the Table of 
Frequency Allocations. We do not wish to recreate the Table in section 
25.202(a)(1), an invitation for discrepancies, and see no reason to 
single out the Ka-band designations over the many other limitations 
noted in the Table.

[[Page 59975]]

Protection of Terrestrial Services

    Ka-band PFD Limits. We adopt the ITU PFD limits for both GSO and 
NGSO space stations in the 17.7-19.7 GHz band. These limits were 
derived after years of study. As systems typically not limited to U.S. 
coverage, NGSO constellations must meet these ITU PFD limits outside 
U.S. territory. Adopting internationally consistent power limits 
simplifies compliance for both GSO and NGSO operators. However, the ITU 
PFD limits in the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-19.7 GHz bands are not well 
suited for NGSO FSS constellations, as they do not account for the size 
of the constellation by an ``X'' factor. Therefore, we will apply in 
these bands the PFD limits in the 17.7-19.3 GHz band which do account 
for the number of satellites in the constellation. Otherwise, we 
received no input from fixed service operators, and no technical 
consensus has developed even among satellite operators regarding an 
appropriate alternative to apply in the United States. Therefore, we do 
not have a sufficient record to deviate from the internationally 
derived limits. Accordingly, we decline to adopt an alternative, 
aggregate PFD value. In addition, no EPFD limits have been proposed 
that we could adopt to protect terrestrial services in place of PFD 
limits. Rather than deviate from the existing ITU PFD limits, we will 
rely on our waiver policy to address, on a case-by-case basis, whether 
the ITU PFD limits we are codifying into our rules to protect the fixed 
service should be modified for a given large NGSO constellation.
    Sharing with Other Platforms. The Notice also inquired how we 
should take into account sharing between NGSO FSS systems and non-
satellite technologies and platforms. Lockheed offers considerations 
for sharing between NGSO FSS systems and stations on aerial platforms 
that operate in the fixed service, and notes that further study is 
needed. We agree that this issue warrants future consideration. 
However, we are not in a position now to prescribe sharing rules for 
this scenario and do not find a basis in the record for initiating such 
a proceeding in this docket, including the question of fixed service 
operations in bands not designated for this service today.

Protection of GSO Networks

    Ka-band EPFD Limits. We adopt the ITU EPFD limits in the 17.8-30 
GHz frequency range, which will harmonize our rules with international 
regulations and provide greater certainty for NGSO FSS operators. While 
we recognize that these limits were not developed with the most 
advanced modern GSO networks in mind, ViaSat has not proposed any new 
EPFD limits, and it would not be advisable to remain without Ka-band 
EPFD limits in our rules pending such deliberations. Similarly, we 
decline to adopt Boeing's suggestion to incorporate an ITU 
Recommendation, which is not an international requirement, because this 
would be inconsistent with our desire to harmonize the treatment of 
NGSO FSS systems with global regulations. We will require NGSO FSS 
licensees to comply with existing aggregate EPFD limits as well, and 
may intervene if operators cannot agree among themselves how to ensure 
the aggregate limits are met.
    In further keeping with international treatment, we decline to 
adopt our proposal to extend EPFD limits to the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-
19.7 GHz bands. We ultimately believe that any benefit from extending 
EPFD limits to these relatively small, discrete band segments does not 
justify the complications of deviating from Article 22 of the ITU Radio 
Regulations.
    Default GSO-NGSO Sharing. We believe that section 25.156(d)(5) is 
unnecessarily restrictive, and that an equivalent to the ITU provision 
No. 22.2, which applies internationally, will serve as a better 
default. Generally, both GSO networks and NGSO FSS systems can operate 
using the same frequencies if NGSO systems are required to protect GSO 
networks. If NGSO systems are not required to protect GSO networks, GSO 
networks may be precluded entirely, because as a general matter they 
have less flexibility to avoid causing harmful interference to NGSO 
systems or protecting themselves while operating in the same band. 
Accordingly, to allow both types of uses by default, we will require 
NGSO systems to protect GSO FSS and GSO BSS networks, similar to the 
ITU provision. However, the extent of the protection of GSO networks 
can be more or less restrictive depending on the specific EPFD limits 
NGSO FSS systems may have to meet within a given frequency band. We 
expect that EPFD limits will continue to be useful in facilitating 
sharing and will likely be developed in additional bands in the future. 
Once adopted, NGSO operators will be provided greater certainty with 
respect to their obligations to protect GSO networks.

Rule Consolidation and Streamlining

    Several parties ask that we consider relaxing the EPFD 
demonstration requirements as applied to the Ka-band, and take account 
of the recently finalized ITU validation software. We agree that the 
current demonstration requirements applicable to the 10.7-14.5 GHz band 
may no longer be necessary. Since we are adopting the EPFD limits 
contained in Article 22 of the ITU Radio Regulations, and applicants 
must use the ITU-approved validation software to assess compliance with 
these limits, the Commission's staff review would duplicate that 
performed by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. Yet, the Commission has 
found that, due to staffing constraints and technical complexity, its 
review of EPFD demonstrations typically takes a few months. We do not 
believe that such review is warranted to reduce the likelihood that an 
incorrect submission is made to the ITU. Given the newly available ITU 
validation software and the separate analysis conducted by the ITU, we 
will simply require NGSO FSS applicants to certify that they will meet 
the international EPFD limits. After licensing, we will require NGSO 
FSS operators to successfully undergo ITU review of their EPFD 
demonstrations and to provide the Commission with the input data files 
used for public disclosure.
    Additionally, because we are relying on ITU EPFD limits, we do not 
believe it is necessary to restate them in our rules. Rather, we will 
incorporate by reference the relevant portions of Article 22. 
Similarly, we are adopting ITU PFD limits on NGSO FSS space stations, 
which the ITU also analyzes. For the same reasons as our decisions 
regarding EPFD limits, we will incorporate ITU PFD limits by reference 
and allow applicants to certify as to their compliance. In the limited 
case of NGSO FSS operations in the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-19.7 GHz 
bands, where we are requiring licensees to comply with ITU PFD limits 
that apply in the adjacent 17.7-19.3 GHz band, we still believe that a 
certification will be sufficient even though the ITU will not perform a 
technical evaluation of compliance with our limits. The Commission 
already allows certifications of compliance with PFD and other space 
station power limits, and given the similarity of operations in the 
17.7-19.3 GHz band, for which technical information is evaluated at the 
ITU, with operations in the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-19.7 GHz bands, we 
believe that a certification from the operator will provide sufficient 
assurance that the system will be capable of operating within our PFD 
limits in these bands.
    In addition, we adopt our unopposed proposal to delete section 
25.145(e), similar provisions in sections 25.142(d) and 25.143(d), and 
the cross-references

[[Page 59976]]

to section 25.142(d) in section 25.217, all of which have been 
superseded by the ORBIT Act, in order to remove redundancies from our 
rules.
    Finally, we consolidate the ephemeris data requirement on NGSO FSS 
systems into 25.146, and delete paragraph (h) of this section, which 
states that NGSO FSS licensees will be awarded a blanket license for 
space stations and is redundant with section 25.114. As the deletion of 
section 25.146(h) will simply remove a redundant provision without 
affecting the rights or obligations of any licensee or applicant, we 
find, for good cause, that the notice and public procedure rulemaking 
requirements specified in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) is 
unnecessary.

Spectrum Sharing Among NGSO FSS Systems

    Default Sharing. We believe that coordination among NGSO FSS 
operators in the first instance offers the best opportunity for 
efficient spectrum sharing. Before resorting to a default mechanism, we 
will require authorized NGSO FSS operators to discuss their technical 
operations in good faith with an aim to accommodating both systems. If 
a question arises as to whether one operator is coordinating in good 
faith, the matter may be brought to the Commission and we may intervene 
to enforce the condition and aid the parties to find a solution. Such 
good faith coordination also offers the best means to mitigate 
potentially unequal burdens for smaller NGSO FSS systems or those in 
highly elliptical orbits. And while we encourage similar industry 
cooperation in the form of a ``clearinghouse'' or other organization, 
the current record is insufficient to mandate the creation of such an 
entity.
    Should coordination remain ongoing at the time both systems are 
operating, or if good faith coordination otherwise proves unsuccessful, 
we will require band-splitting when the [Delta]T/T of an interfered 
link exceeds 6 percent. While the Commission once found this long-term 
interference criterion to be unsuited for NGSO FSS sharing, based on 
the current record we conclude that this approach is the best method 
for characterizing the situations in which there is potential for 
interference between NGSO FSS systems. Although we recognize that this 
will be a complex calculation, as noted in the record, using this 
threshold will provide both equal access to spectrum and a flexible 
mechanism that is specific to the particular interference situation and 
systems involved. Further, the single avoidance angle method previously 
adopted has now been shown to not address all of the varieties of new 
proposed systems. This is equally true if a fixed avoidance angle is 
coupled with a further interference criterion, such as a [Delta]T/T of 
25 percent. Further, to provide regulatory certainty while operators 
pursue the development of their constellations, we will not consider 
this issue in a Further Notice without first gaining experience in its 
implementation. After monitoring the development of NGSO FSS systems, 
we may revisit our specific threshold for spectrum-splitting in light 
of the matured technical designs of those systems that have continued 
to progress.
    In contrast to a [Delta]T/T of 6 percent threshold, Telesat's 
proposal to award priority to a single NGSO FSS operator according to 
the date of receipt of its ITU coordination request would give no 
certainty to other operators that they may use any portion of the 
spectrum absent that operator's consent. In other words, absent 
coordination, Telesat asks the Commission to pick a single ``winner''--
Telesat, in many frequency bands--that would be given certainty of 
operations in wide swaths of spectrum without offering any certainty to 
a multitude of other proposals in the same bands. This regime could 
unduly chill investment in competing systems. If the first priority 
system is not ultimately deployed, it could delay the provision of NGSO 
FSS broadband by lower-priority systems fearful of a hypothetical 
sharing environment. And it gives the highest priority system weaker 
incentives to accommodate competing NGSO FSS systems. In contrast, our 
default sharing solution sets all applicants in a processing round on 
an equal basis. This equality will form the basis of the necessary 
coordination discussions. We expect more accommodation, more sharing, 
and ultimately, more competition, will result from treating NGSO FSS 
applicants equally than by a first-come, first-served regime in a 
potentially challenging sharing environment. In addition, Telesat's 
proposal would cause confusion because the ITU dates of receipt for any 
two U.S.-licensees would not have any international significance, since 
coordination between these two U.S. systems is a domestic matter and 
not subject to ITU rules. Accordingly, to set all NGSO FSS applicants 
and market access petitioners in the processing rounds on an equal 
footing and because no one angle is appropriate for all systems, we 
adopt a [Delta]T/T of 6 percent threshold to define the default sharing 
required among NGSO FSS systems.
    Scope of Default Sharing Mechanism. Above, we chose a spectrum 
splitting sharing mechanism that is triggered when a [Delta]T/T 
threshold of 6 percent is exceeded. This approach is suited to varying 
NGSO FSS system designs. We also believe this threshold is appropriate 
for NGSO FSS systems in any of the currently envisioned frequency bands 
because it takes into account each specific system design in any band. 
Accordingly, we will apply this criterion by default to NGSO FSS 
systems in any frequency band. We do not see merit in considering band 
segmentation. In a worst case scenario, when the [Delta]T/T threshold 
of 6 percent threshold is exceeded 100 percent of the time, the result 
is the equivalent to band segmentation. Thus, our method of spectrum 
sharing allows for the possibility of co-frequency operation absent a 
coordination agreement, but is in no case less favorable to licensees 
than strict band segmentation would be.
    SpaceX and SES/O3b ask that we clarify the geographic scope of our 
NGSO FSS sharing method as it relates to non-U.S.-licensed satellite 
systems granted U.S. market access. While SpaceX argues that it should 
govern such operations worldwide, a grant of market access typically 
considers radiofrequency operations only within the United States. 
Sharing between systems of different administrations internationally is 
subject to coordination under Article 9 of the ITU Radio Regulations. 
We believe this international regime is the appropriate forum to 
consider NGSO FSS radiofrequency operations that fall outside the scope 
of a grant of U.S. market access. Because ITU coordination procedures 
do not apply between two U.S. systems, our spectrum splitting sharing 
mechanism triggered when a [Delta]T/T threshold of 6 percent is 
exceeded will govern such operations both within and outside the United 
States.
    Earth Station Power Limits. Above, we established a mechanism to 
promote sharing among the various NGSO FSS system designs, without 
mandating any particular system architecture. This sharing mechanism is 
sufficient to define the sharing requirements among NGSO FSS systems. 
While prescribing limits on off-axis earth station emissions could 
promote sharing further, it may also preclude the use of smaller, less 
expensive earth stations for consumer applications. In addition to the 
potential need to establish off-axis limits, SpaceX has raised the 
possibility of introducing limits on on-axis earth station emissions. 
Such on-axis limits would reduce the differences between earth station 
emissions to satellites at orbits with significant different heights. 
We

[[Page 59977]]

recognize the potential utility of SpaceX's proposal; however, given 
the variety of NGSO FSS system proposals and their potential to offer 
broadband services directly to consumers, we believe it is premature to 
adopt any additional technical limitations to promote sharing among 
NGSO FSS systems.
    Ephemeris Data. We believe that the current website requirement may 
be unduly rigid, and that other means to share ephemeris data could be 
equally or more efficient and useful. Accordingly, we will simply 
require NGSO FSS operators to ensure that ephemeris data regarding 
their constellation is available to all authorized, co-frequency 
satellite operators in a manner that is mutually acceptable to the 
parties. The requirement will apply in all bands in which we require 
sharing among NGSO FSS systems under the default method adopted herein.
    Applications after a Processing Round. The purpose of the recent 
processing rounds was to establish a sharing environment among NGSO 
systems, to provide a measure of certainty in lieu of adopting an open-
ended requirement to accommodate all future applicants. At the same 
time, it is uncertain how many of the pending system applications will 
proceed to full deployment. While we will initially limit sharing under 
the [Delta]T/T of 6 percent threshold to qualified applicants in a 
processing round, treatment of later applicants to approved systems 
must necessarily be case-by-case based on the situation at the time, 
and considering both the need to protect existing expectations and 
investments and provide for additional entry as well as any comments 
filed by incumbent operators and reasoning presented by the new 
applicant.

Milestones

    NGSO Milestones. Our chosen milestone approach seeks to accomplish 
two goals. First, it should be simple, clear, and easy to administer. 
Second, it should discourage applicants from seeking authorizations for 
oversized, unrealistic constellations, even if those applicants 
eventually provide substantial service to the public. Such unused 
authorizations for spectrum-orbit resources can create unnecessary 
coordination burdens and uncertainty for other operators. These may 
deter an operator that is able to proceed with its authorized satellite 
system. Proposals that allow applicants to set their own milestone 
objectives, that set more complex milestones, or that re-engage the 
Commission in construction determinations would not achieve our dual 
milestone goals.
    Instead, given the desire for additional flexibility evident in the 
record, we conclude that requiring launch and operation of 50 percent 
of the authorized satellite system within six years of grant strikes an 
appropriate balance between providing flexibility for the licensee and 
a measure of certainty for other operators. If a licensee fails to meet 
this milestone, its authorization will be reduced to the number of 
satellites in use on the milestone date, and the bond will be forfeit. 
Operators that successfully complete the first milestone will have an 
additional three years to deploy the remainder of their constellation, 
free of bond obligations. After the milestone period, we will require 
licensees to maintain 50 percent of their authorized constellation in 
orbit at all times, or have their constellation size similarly reduced 
to conform to their diminished operations. Reducing the first milestone 
requirement from 75% deployment, as proposed in the Notice, to 50% 
deployment will not necessarily affect the coverage of the authorized 
system. A constellation may be able to achieve its full coverage 
despite having only 50% of its satellites deployed. Further, licensees 
will be required to complete their authorized constellations within 9 
years. Finally, because operators of smaller satellite systems may also 
benefit from deployment flexibility, we will apply these milestones and 
requirements equally to all NGSO systems, regardless of size.
    We decline to extend the bond period to nine years. Under our 
``escalating'' bond requirement, liability increases from $1,000,000 to 
$5,000,000 progressively over the six-year bond period. Extending this 
period to nine years, without appropriately increasing the maximum 
liability, would weaken the incentive of the bond and is unsupported by 
the record. In addition, because it could vitiate our percentage-based 
milestone requirement, we will not allow a modification of the 
authorized number of satellites to reduce a licensee's milestone 
obligation after grant. Further, a licensee may request to modify its 
authorization at any time to deploy additional satellites. These 
applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis as ``NGSO-
like'' applications filed after a processing round. Given this 
additional opportunity for modification and public comment when plans 
have matured, we decline to extend the milestone period beyond 9 years, 
or to forgo a fixed completion milestone altogether, as creating undue 
uncertainty for other operators.
    Replacements. The Commission also proposed to clarify in section 
25.164 that both GSO and NGSO replacement space stations, which must be 
scheduled for launch before the retirement of the space stations being 
replaced, are not subject to the separate milestone requirements in 
that section. All commenters on this issue supported the Commission's 
proposal, which we adopt to clarify this treatment.

International Coverage

    Sections 25.145 and 24.146. Sections 25.145(c)(1) and 25.146(i)(2) 
require certain NGSO FSS systems to be capable of providing service 
anywhere between 70[deg] North Latitude and 55[deg] South Latitude for 
at least 18 hours of every day. The Notice proposed to delete these 
international coverage requirements, noting they prohibit the use of 
certain non-geostationary orbits and system designs. Every commenter on 
the issue agrees that removing this requirement would afford operators 
greater design flexibility. We agree with this assessment and therefore 
delete the international coverage requirements in these sections.
    Section 25.217. In addition, section 25.217(b)(1) contains an 
international coverage requirement mirroring the 18-hour, 70[deg] North 
Latitude/55[deg] South Latitude rules described above, which applies to 
NGSO systems ``before any frequency-band-specific service rules have 
been adopted for [a particular] frequency band.'' For NGSO FSS systems 
operating in various frequency bands, such as those in the 37-52 GHz 
range (for which the Commission has not adopted frequency-band-specific 
rules), this means that the same type of coverage constraints that we 
are lifting for other NGSO FSS systems would continue to apply. This 
type of disparate treatment is unjustified because many of the same 
services, including broadband internet services, can be provided to 
consumers in a variety of frequency bands. Moreover, providing the same 
degree of flexibility for NGSO systems covered by section 25.217(b) is 
consistent with our goal of providing additional flexibility with 
respect to geographic coverage rules for all ``operators of NGSO FSS 
systems,'' as proposed in the Notice. This makes particular sense for 
systems that operate in multiple bands--some covered by section 
25.217(b) and some not--which would otherwise be subject to two 
different coverage regimes depending on which band the system was 
accessing. To afford the same flexibility to all NGSO FSS systems 
regardless of the

[[Page 59978]]

band, we therefore remove this section 25.217(b) default international 
coverage requirement.

Pending Applications

    The motivating purpose for this rulemaking was to update our rules 
and policies to prepare for a new generation of NGSO FSS satellite 
systems. Many of these applications are now pending before the 
Commission. Accordingly, as of their effective date, we will apply the 
rules and procedures we adopt in this Report and Order to pending space 
station applications and petitions for U.S. market access. In addition, 
we will allow current licensees and market access recipients to submit 
a simple letter request to modify particular conditions in their grants 
consistent with the rule changes adopted in this Order. The Commission 
may apply new procedures to pending applications if doing so does not 
impair the rights an applicant possessed when it filed its application, 
increase an applicant's liability for past conduct, or impose new 
duties on applicants with respect to transactions already completed. 
Applicants do not gain any vested right merely by filing an 
application, and the simple act of filing an application is not 
considered a ``transaction already completed'' for purposes of this 
analysis. Accordingly, applying our new rules and procedures to pending 
space station applications will not impair the rights any applicant had 
at the time it filed its application. Nor will doing so increase an 
applicant's liability for past conduct.
    We disagree with ViaSat's argument that we should dismiss pending 
applications in the current processing rounds, or indefinitely withhold 
action until additional EPFD deliberations are completed. Doing so 
would largely negate the purpose of this rulemaking and delay the 
authorization of pending systems. Rather, we note that ViaSat has 
reviewed the pending proposals and believes it can operate with each of 
the technical designs proposed.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document contains modified information collection requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-
13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review under Section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, other Federal 
agencies, and the general public will be invited to comment on the 
modified information collection requirements contained in this 
document. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business 
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific comment on how the Commission 
might further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.
    In this document, we have assessed the effects of reducing the 
application burdens of NGSO FSS satellite applicants, and find that 
doing so will serve the public interest and is unlikely to directly 
affect businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

Congressional Review Act

    The Commission will send a copy of this Report and Order to 
Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the 
Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended 
(RFA), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was 
incorporated in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding. 
The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the 
Notice, including comment on the IRFA. No comments were received on the 
IRFA. This present Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) 
conforms to the RFA.

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Rules

    The Order adopts several proposals relating to the Commission's 
rules and policies for satellite services, especially those concerning 
non-geostationary-satellite (NGSO), fixed-satellite service (FSS) 
systems. Adoption of these changes will, among other things, provide 
for more flexible use of the 17.8-20.2 GHz bands for FSS; promote 
shared use of spectrum among NGSO FSS satellite systems; and remove 
unnecessary design restrictions on NGSO FSS systems.
    The Order adopts several changes to 47 CFR parts 2 and 25. 
Principally, it:
    (1) Allocates additional spectrum for use by FSS systems on a 
secondary basis in the 17.8-18.3 GHz band, subject to power flux-
density limits designed to protect primary terrestrial services.
    (2) Allows additional operation of NGSO FSS systems in segments of 
the 17.8-20.2 GHz band within limits protective of FSS satellite 
systems in the geostationary-satellite orbit (GSO).
    (3) Allows GSO FSS operation in the 18.8-19.3 GHz band on an 
unprotected, non-interference basis with regard to NGSO FSS systems, to 
provide additional operational flexibility.
    (4) Amends the Commission's satellite milestone policies and 
geographic coverage rules to provide additional regulatory flexibility 
to operators of NGSO FSS systems.

B. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response 
to the IRFA

    There were no comments filed that specifically addressed the IRFA.

C. Response to Comments by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration

    Pursuant to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which amended the 
RFA, the Commission is required to respond to any comments filed by the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), 
and to provide a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed 
rules as a result of those comments. The Chief Counsel did not file any 
comments in response to the proposed rules in this proceeding.

D. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which 
Rules Will Apply

    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 rules adopted herein. The RFA generally defines the 
term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms ``small 
business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental 
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' has the same 
meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the Small Business 
Act. 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 Small Business 
Administration (SBA). Below, we describe and estimate the number of 
small entity licensees that may be affected by adoption of the final 
rules.
    Satellite Telecommunications. This category comprises firms 
``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.'' The category 
has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average 
annual receipts, under SBA rules. For this category, Census Bureau data 
for 2012 show that there were a total of 333 firms that operated for 
the entire year. Of this total, 299 firms had annual receipts of less 
than $25 million. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of 
satellite

[[Page 59979]]

telecommunications providers are small entities.
    The rule changes adopted in this Order will affect space station 
applicants and licensees. Generally, space stations cost hundreds of 
millions of dollars to construct, launch, and operate. Consequently, we 
do not anticipate that any space station operators are small entities 
that would be affected by our actions.

E. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    The Order adopts several rule changes that would affect compliance 
requirements for space station operators. As noted above, these parties 
rarely qualify as small entities.
    For example, we allow additional uses of certain frequencies within 
the 17.8-20.2 GHz band, subject to compliance with power limits 
designed to protect other users of the bands. We also modify rules for 
satellite system implementation to provide additional flexibility to 
operators. And we eliminate a geographic service requirement that 
restricts the design possibilities of certain NGSO FSS satellite 
systems. In total, the actions in this Order are designed to achieve 
the Commission's mandate to regulate in the public interest while 
imposing the lowest necessary burden on all affected parties, including 
small entities.

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

    The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives 
that it has considered in developing its 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 and 
reporting requirements under the rule for such 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 such small 
entities.''
    In this Report and Order, the Commission relaxes or removes 
requirements on NGSO FSS operators, including changing the 100 percent 
deployment milestone after six years to a 50 percent milestone at that 
time, and allowing three additional years to launch the remaining 
constellation; removing geographic coverage requirements; and allowing 
applicants to certify, rather than demonstrate, that they will comply 
with equivalent power-flux density limits. In addition, the Order 
provides greater flexibility to both geostationary and non-
geostationary satellite operators to provide service in additional 
portions of the 17.8-20.2 GHz frequency band. Overall, we believe the 
actions in this document will reduce burdens on the affected licensees, 
including any small entities.

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

    None.
    Report to Congress: The Commission will send a copy of the Report 
and Order, including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress 
pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, the Commission 
will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, to the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. A copy of the Report and Order 
and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal 
Register.

Incorporation by Reference

    This final rule incorporates by reference four elements of the ITU 
Radio Regulations, Edition of 2016, into part 25 for specific purposes:
    (1) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 1: Articles, Article 21, 
``Terrestrial and space services sharing frequency bands above 1 GHz,'' 
Section V, ``Limits of power flux-density from space stations,'' 
Edition of 2016.
Article 21 of the ITU Radio Regulations contains power limits on 
satellite transmissions to protect terrestrial and other services. The 
Commission requires under Sec.  25.146(a) that non-geostationary, 
fixed-satellite service (NGSO FSS) satellite operators certify 
compliance with these limits. Applicants and licensees affected by 
Sec.  25.146(a) should become familiar with the incorporated materials.
    (2) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 1: Articles, Article 22, ``Space 
services,'' Section II, ``Control of interference to geostationary-
satellite systems,'' Edition of 2016.
    Article 22 of the ITU Radio Regulations contains power limits on 
NGSO FSS satellite systems to protect geostationary satellite networks 
from unacceptable interference. The Commission requires under Sec.  
25.146(a) that NGSO FSS operators certify compliance with these limits. 
In addition, compliance with the Article 22 limits satisfies the 
requirement in Sec.  25.289 that an NGSO FSS satellite operator not 
cause unacceptable interference to geostationary satellite networks. 
Applicants and licensees affected by Sec.  25.146(a) or 25.289 should 
become familiar with the incorporated materials.
    (3) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 3: Resolutions and 
Recommendations, Resolution 76 (Rev.WRC-15), ``Protection of 
geostationary fixed-satellite service and geostationary broadcasting-
satellite service networks from the maximum aggregate equivalent power 
flux-density produced by multiple non-geostationary fixed-satellite 
service systems in frequency bands where equivalent power flux-density 
limits have been adopted,'' Edition of 2016.
    Resolution 76 of the ITU Radio Regulations contains aggregate power 
limits on NGSO FSS satellite transmissions to protect geostationary 
satellite networks, related to the per-system power limits in Article 
22. The Commission requires under Sec.  25.146(a) that NGSO FSS 
satellite operators also certify compliance with these aggregate 
limits. Applicants and licensees affected by Sec.  25.146(a) should 
become familiar with the incorporated materials.
    (4) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 3: Resolutions and 
Recommendations, Resolution 85 (WRC-03), ``Application of Article 22 of 
the Radio Regulations to the protection of geostationary fixed-
satellite service and broadcasting-satellite service networks from non-
geostationary fixed-satellite service systems,'' Edition of 2016.
    Resolution 85 of the ITU Radio Regulations concerns the assessment 
of compliance with the power limits on NGSO FSS systems in Article 22. 
The Commission requires under 25.146(c) that NGSO FSS operators receive 
a favourable or qualified favourable finding under this Resolution. 
Applicants and licensees affected by Sec.  25.146(a) should become 
familiar with the incorporated materials.
    Materials (1) through (4) above are available for free download at 
http://www.itu.int/pub/R-REG-RR-2016. In addition, copies of all of the 
materials are available for purchase from the ITU through the contact 
information provided in section 25.108, and are available for public 
inspection at the Commission address noted in the rule as well.

Ordering Clauses

    It is ordered, pursuant to sections 4(i), 7(a), 10, 303, 308(b), 
and 316 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 
154(i), 157(a), 160, 303, 308(b), 316, that this Report and Order IS 
ADOPTED, the policies, rules, and requirements discussed herein ARE 
ADOPTED, Parts 2 and 25 of the

[[Page 59980]]

Commission's rules ARE AMENDED as set forth in Appendix A, and this 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is adopted.
    It is further ordered that this Report and Order shall be effective 
January 17, 2018, except that those amendments which contain new or 
modified information collection requirements that require approval by 
the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act 
will become effective after the Commission publishes a document in the 
Federal Register. announcing such approval and the relevant effective 
date.
    It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, including the Initial and Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analyses, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration.
    It is ordered, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 157(a), 160, 161, 
303(c), 303(f), 303(g), 303(r), 308(b), that this Report and Order is 
adopted, the policies, rules, and requirements discussed herein are 
adopted, and part 25 of the Commission's rules is amended as set forth 
below.
    It is further ordered that the International Bureau is delegated 
authority to issue Public Notices consistent with this Report and 
Order.
    It is further ordered that the International Bureau will issue a 
Public Notice announcing the effective date for all of the changes 
adopted in this Report and Order.
    It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send a 
copy of this Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 2

    Earth stations, Radio, Satellites.

47 CFR Part 25

    Administrative practice and procedure, Earth stations, 
Incorporation by reference, Satellites.

Federal Communications Commission.
Katura Jackson,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.

Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission amends 47 CFR parts 2 and 25 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. In Sec.  2.106, the Table of Frequency Allocations is amended as 
follows:
0
a. Pages 49, 52, and 55 are revised.
0
b. In the list of non-Federal Government (NG) Footnotes, footnotes 
NG57, NG62, and NG535A are added; and footnotes NG164, NG165, and NG166 
are revised.
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  2.106   Table of Frequency Allocations.

* * * * *
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P

[[Page 59981]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR18DE17.000


[[Page 59982]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR18DE17.001


[[Page 59983]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR18DE17.002


[[Page 59984]]


BILLING CODE 6712-01-C
* * * * *
    NON-FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (NG) FOOTNOTES
* * * * *
    NG57 The use of the band 12.75-13.25 GHz by non-geostationary-
satellite systems in the fixed-satellite service is limited to 
communications with individually licensed earth stations.
* * * * *
    NG62 In the bands 28.5-29.1 GHz and 29.25-29.5 GHz, stations in the 
fixed-satellite service shall not cause harmful interference to, or 
claim protection from, stations in the fixed service operating under 
the following call signs: KEB35, KGB72, KGC79, KIL20, KME49, KQG58, 
KQH74, KSA96, KSE73, KVH83, KYJ33, KZS88, WAX78, WLT380, WMK817, 
WML443, WMP367, and WSL69.
* * * * *
    NG164 The use of the band 18.6-18.8 GHz by the fixed-satellite 
service is limited to geostationary-satellite networks.
    NG165 In the bands 18.8-19.3 GHz and 28.6-29.1 GHz, geostationary-
satellite networks in the fixed-satellite service shall not cause 
harmful interference to, or claim protection from, non-geostationary-
satellite systems in the fixed-satellite service.
    NG166 The use of the bands 19.4-19.6 GHz and 29.1-29.25 GHz by the 
fixed-satellite service is limited to feeder links for non-
geostationary-satellite systems in the mobile-satellite service.
* * * * *
    NG535A The use of the band 29.25-29.5 GHz by the fixed-satellite 
service is limited to geostationary-satellite networks and to feeder 
links for non-geostationary-satellite systems in the mobile-satellite 
service.
* * * * *

PART 25--SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

0
3. The authority citation for part 25 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302, 303, 307, 309, 310, 319, 
332, 605, and 721, unless otherwise noted.

0
4. In Sec.  25.108:
0
a. Revise paragraph (a);
0
b. Remove paragraph (c)(6) and redesignate paragraphs (c)(2) through 
(5) as paragraphs (c)(4) through (7);
0
c. Add new paragraphs (c)(2) and (3); and
0
d. Add paragraphs (c)(8) and (9).
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  25.108   Incorporation by reference.

    (a) Certain material is incorporated by reference into this part 
with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 
U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for 
inspection at the Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street 
SW, Reference Information Center, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554, 
202-418-0270, and is available from the sources listed below. It is 
also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this 
material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to www.archives.gov/federal-register/ccfr/ibr-locations.html.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 1: Articles, Article 21, 
``Terrestrial and space services sharing frequency bands above 1 GHz,'' 
Section V, ``Limits of power flux-density from space stations,'' 
Edition of 2016, copyright 2016, http://www.itu.int/pub/R-REG-RR-2016. 
Incorporation by reference approved for Sec.  25.146(a).
    (3) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 1: Articles, Article 22, ``Space 
services,'' Section II, ``Control of interference to geostationary-
satellite systems,'' Edition of 2016, copyright 2016, http://www.itu.int/pub/R-REG-RR-2016. Incorporation by reference approved for 
Sec. Sec.  25.146(a), 25.289.
* * * * *
    (8) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 3: Resolutions and 
Recommendations, Resolution 76 (Rev.WRC-15), ``Protection of 
geostationary fixed-satellite service and geostationary broadcasting-
satellite service networks from the maximum aggregate equivalent power 
flux-density produced by multiple non-geostationary fixed-satellite 
service systems in frequency bands where equivalent power flux-density 
limits have been adopted,'' Edition of 2016, copyright 2016, http://www.itu.int/pub/R-REG-RR-2016. Incorporation by reference approved for 
Sec.  25.146(a).
    (9) ITU Radio Regulations, Volume 3: Resolutions and 
Recommendations, Resolution 85 (WRC-03), ``Application of Article 22 of 
the Radio Regulations to the protection of geostationary fixed-
satellite service and broadcasting-satellite service networks from non-
geostationary fixed-satellite service systems,'' Edition of 2016, 
copyright 2016, http://www.itu.int/pub/R-REG-RR-2016. Incorporation by 
reference approved for Sec.  25.146(c).

0
5. In Sec.  25.114, revise paragraphs (c)(8) and (d)(12) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  25.114   Applications for space station authorizations.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (8) Calculated maximum power flux-density levels within each 
coverage area and energy dispersal bandwidths, if any, needed for 
compliance with Sec.  25.208, for the angles of arrival specified in 
the applicable paragraph(s) of Sec.  25.208, except for an NGSO FSS 
applicant certifying compliance with PFD limits under Sec.  
25.146(a)(1);
* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (12) The information required by Sec.  25.146, if the application 
is for an NGSO FSS system authorization within the 10.7-30 GHz band.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  25.115, revise paragraphs (c)(1) introductory text, (e), 
and (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  25.115   Applications for earth station authorizations.

* * * * *
    (c)(1) GSO FSS earth stations in 10.7-12.2 GHz or 14-14.5 GHz. A 
blanket license application for operation in the 10.7-12.2 GHz or 14-
14.5 GHz bands may be filed on FCC Form 312 or Form 312EZ, with a 
Schedule B for each large (5 meters or larger) hub station antenna and 
each representative type of small antenna (less than 5 meters) 
operating within the network; however, blanket licensing in the 10.7-
11.7 GHz band is on an unprotected basis with respect to the fixed 
service.
* * * * *
    (e) GSO FSS earth stations in 17.8-30 GHz. (1) An application for a 
GSO FSS earth station license in the 17.8-19.4 GHz, 19.6-20.2 GHz, 
27.5-29.1 GHz, or 29.25-30 GHz bands not filed on FCC Form 312EZ 
pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section must be filed on FCC Form 
312, Main Form and Schedule B, and must include any information 
required by paragraph (g) or (j) of this section or by Sec.  25.130.
    (2) An applicant may request authority for operation of GSO FSS 
earth stations in the 17.8-19.4 GHz, 19.6-20.2 GHz, 28.35-29.1 GHz, and 
29.25-30 GHz bands without specifying the location of user terminals 
but must specify the geographic area(s) in which they will operate and 
the location of hub and/or gateway stations; however, blanket licensing 
in the 17.8-18.3 GHz, 19.3-19.4 GHz, and 19.6-19.7 GHz bands is on an 
unprotected basis with respect to the fixed service.

[[Page 59985]]

    (f) NGSO FSS earth stations in 10.7-29.1 GHz. (1) An application 
for an NGSO FSS earth station license in the 10.7-29.1 GHz band must 
include the certification described in Sec.  25.146(a)(2).
    (2) Individual or blanket license applications may be filed for 
operation in the 10.7-12.7 GHz, 14-14.5 GHz, 17.8-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.4 
GHz, 19.6-20.2 GHz, or 28.35-29.1 GHz bands; however, blanket licensing 
in the 10.7-11.7 GHz, 17.8-18.3 GHz, 19.3-19.4 GHz, and 19.6-19.7 GHz 
bands is on an unprotected basis with respect to the fixed service.
    (3) Individual license applications only may be filed for operation 
in the 12.75-13.15 GHz, 13.2125-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14 GHz, or 27.5-28.35 
GHz bands.
* * * * *


Sec.  25.142  [Amended]

0
7. In Sec.  25.142, remove paragraph (d).


Sec.  25.143   [Amended]

0
8. In Sec.  25.143, remove paragraph (d).


Sec.  25.145   [Removed]

0
9. Remove Sec.  25.145.

0
10. Revise Sec.  25.146 to read as follows:


Sec.  25.146   Licensing and operating provisions for NGSO FSS space 
stations.

    (a) An NGSO FSS applicant proposing to operate in the 10.7-30 GHz 
frequency range must certify that it will comply with:
    (1) Any applicable power flux-density levels in Article 21, Section 
V, Table 21-4 of the ITU Radio Regulations (incorporated by reference, 
Sec.  25.108), except that in the 19.3-19.4 GHz and 19.6-19.7 GHz bands 
applicants must certify that they will comply with the ITU PFD limits 
governing NGSO FSS systems in the 17.7-19.3 GHz band; and
    (2) Any applicable equivalent power flux-density levels in Article 
22, Section II, and Resolution 76 of the ITU Radio Regulations (both 
incorporated by reference, Sec.  25.108).
    (b) In addition, an NGSO FSS applicant proposing to operate in the 
10.7-12.7 GHz, 12.75-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14.5 GHz, 18.8-19.3 GHz, or 28.6-
29.1 GHz bands must provide a demonstration that the proposed system is 
capable of providing FSS on a continuous basis throughout the fifty 
states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
    (c) Prior to the initiation of service, an NGSO FSS operator 
licensed or holding a market access authorization to operate in the 
10.7-30 GHz frequency range must receive a ``favorable'' or ``qualified 
favorable'' finding by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, in accordance 
with Resolution 85 of the ITU Radio Regulations (incorporated by 
reference, Sec.  25.108), regarding its compliance with applicable ITU 
EPFD limits. In addition, a market access holder in these bands must:
    (1) Communicate the ITU finding to the Commission; and
    (2) Submit the input data files used for the ITU validation 
software.
    (d) Coordination will be required between NGSO FSS systems and GSO 
FSS earth stations in the 10.7-12.75 GHz band when:
    (1) The GSO satellite network has receive earth stations with earth 
station antenna maximum isotropic gain greater than or equal to 64 dBi; 
G/T of 44 dB/K or higher; and emission bandwidth of 250 MHz; and
    (2)The EPFDdown radiated by the NGSO satellite system 
into the GSO specific receive earth station, either within the U.S. for 
domestic service or any points outside the U.S. for international 
service, as calculated using the ITU software for examining compliance 
with EPFD limits exceeds--174.5 dB(W/(m\2\/40kHz)) for any percentage 
of time for NGSO systems with all satellites only operating at or below 
2500 km altitude, or--202 dB(W/(m\2\/40kHz)) for any percentage of time 
for NGSO systems with any satellites operating above 2500 km altitude.
    (e) An NGSO FSS licensee or market access recipient must ensure 
that ephemeris data for its constellation is available to all operators 
of authorized, in-orbit, co-frequency satellite systems in a manner 
that is mutually acceptable.

0
11. In Sec.  25.151:
0
a. Remove ``and'' from the end of paragraph (b)(10);
0
b. Remove the period at the end of paragraph (b)(11) and add ``; and'' 
in its place; and
0
c Add paragraph (a)(12) to read as follows:


Sec.  25.151   Public notice.

    (a) * * *
    (12) The receipt of EPFD input data files from an NGSO FSS licensee 
or market access recipient, submitted pursuant to Sec.  25.111(b) or 
25.146(c)(2).
* * * * *


Sec.  25.156   [Amended]

0
12. In Sec.  25.156, remove and reserve paragraph (d)(5).

0
13. In Sec.  25.157, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  25.157   Consideration of applications for NGSO-like satellite 
operation.

* * * * *
    (b)(1) The procedures in this section do not apply to an 
application for authority to operate a replacement space station(s) 
that meets the relevant criteria in Sec.  25.165(e)(1) and (2) and that 
will be launched before the space station(s) to be replaced is retired 
from service or within a reasonable time after loss of a space station 
during launch or due to premature failure in orbit.
    (2) Paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) of this section do not apply to an 
NGSO FSS application granted with a condition to share spectrum 
pursuant to Sec.  25.261.
* * * * *

0
14. In Sec.  25.161, revise paragraph (a) and add paragraph (d) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  25.161   Automatic termination of station authorization.

* * * * *
    (a)(1) The failure to meet an applicable milestone specified in 
Sec.  25.164(a) or (b), if no authorized space station is functional in 
orbit;
    (2) The failure to meet an applicable milestone specified in Sec.  
25.164(b)(1) or (2), if at least one authorized space station is 
functional in an authorized orbit, which failure will result in the 
termination of authority for the space stations not in orbit as of the 
milestone date, but allow for technically identical replacements; or
    (3) The failure to meet any other milestone or construction 
requirement imposed as a condition of authorization. In the case of a 
space station authorization when at least one authorized space station 
is functional in orbit, however, such termination will be with respect 
to only the authorization for any space stations not in orbit as of the 
milestone date.
* * * * *
    (d) The failure to maintain 50 percent of the maximum number of 
NGSO space stations authorized for service following the 9-year 
milestone period as functional space stations in authorized orbits, 
which failure will result in the termination of authority for the space 
stations not in orbit as of the date of noncompliance, but allow for 
technically identical replacements.

0
15. In Sec.  25.164, revise paragraphs (a), (b), and (g) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  25.164   Milestones.

    (a) The recipient of an initial license for a GSO space station, 
other than a DBS space station, SDARS space station, or replacement 
space station as defined in Sec.  25.165(e), must launch the space 
station, position it in its assigned orbital location, and operate it 
in accordance with the station authorization no later than 5 years 
after the grant of the license, unless a different schedule is

[[Page 59986]]

established by Title 47, Chapter I, or the Commission.
    (b)(1) The recipient of an initial authorization for an NGSO 
satellite system, other than an SDARS system, must launch 50 percent of 
the maximum number of space stations authorized for service, place them 
in their assigned orbits, and operate them in accordance with the 
station authorization no later than 6 years after the grant of the 
authorization, unless a different schedule is established by Title 47, 
Chapter I. This paragraph does not apply to replacement NGSO space 
stations as defined in Sec.  25.165(e).
    (2) A licensee that satisfies the requirement in paragraph (b)(1) 
of this section must launch the remaining space stations necessary to 
complete its authorized service constellation, place them in their 
assigned orbits, and operate each of them in accordance with the 
authorization no later than nine years after the grant of the 
authorization.
* * * * *
    (g) Licensees of satellite systems that include both NGSO 
satellites and GSO satellites must meet the requirement in paragraph 
(a) of this section with respect to the GSO satellite(s) and the 
applicable requirements in paragraph (b) of this section with respect 
to the NGSO satellites.
* * * * *

0
16. In Sec.  25.165, revise paragraph (c) and add paragraph (d) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  25.165   Surety bonds.

* * * * *
    (c) A licensee will be considered to be in default with respect to 
a bond filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section if it surrenders 
the license before meeting an applicable milestone requirement in Sec.  
25.164(a) or (b)(1) or if it fails to satisfy any such milestone.
    (d) A licensee will be relieved of its bond obligation under 
paragraph (a) of this section upon a Commission finding that the 
licensee has satisfied the applicable milestone requirement(s) in Sec.  
25.164(a) and (b)(1) for the authorization.
* * * * *

0
17. In Sec.  25.202, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  25.202   Frequencies, frequency tolerance, and emission limits.

    (a)(1) In addition to the frequency-use restrictions set forth in 
Sec.  2.106 of this chapter, the following restrictions apply:
    (i) In the 27.5-28.35 GHz band, the FSS (Earth-to-space) is 
secondary to the Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service authorized 
pursuant to part 30 of this chapter, except for FSS operations 
associated with earth stations authorized pursuant to Sec.  25.136.
    (ii) Use of the 37.5-40 GHz band by the FSS (space-to-Earth) is 
limited to individually licensed earth stations. Earth stations in this 
band must not be ubiquitously deployed and must not be used to serve 
individual consumers.
    (iii) The U.S. non-Federal Table of Frequency Allocations, in Sec.  
2.106 of this chapter, is applicable between Commission space station 
licensees relying on a U.S. ITU filing and transmitting to or receiving 
from anywhere on Earth, including airborne earth stations, in the 17.7-
20.2 GHz or 27.5-30 GHz bands.
* * * * *

0
18. In Sec.  25.208:
0
a. Revise the section heading and the introductory text to paragraph 
(c), and
0
b. Remove and reserve paragraphs (e) and (g) through (m).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  25.208   Power flux-density limits.

* * * * *
    (c) For a GSO space station in the 17.7-19.7 GHz, 22.55-23.55 GHz, 
or 24.45-24.75 GHz bands, or for an NGSO space station in the 22.55-
23.55 GHz or 24.45-24.75 GHz bands, the PFD at the Earth's surface 
produced by emissions for all conditions and for all methods of 
modulation must not exceed the following values:
* * * * *

0
19. In Sec.  25.217, revise paragraphs (b)(1) and (c)(1) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  25.217  Default service rules.

* * * * *
    (b)(1) For all NGSO-like satellite licenses for which the 
application was filed pursuant to the procedures set forth in Sec.  
25.157 after August 27, 2003, authorizing operations in a frequency 
band for which the Commission has not adopted frequency band-specific 
service rules at the time the license is granted, the licensee will be 
required to comply with the following technical requirements, 
notwithstanding the frequency bands specified in these rule provisions: 
Sec. Sec.  25.143(b)(2)(ii) (except NGSO FSS systems) and (iii), 
25.204(e), and 25.210(f) and (i).
* * * * *
    (c)(1) For all GSO-like satellite licenses for which the 
application was filed pursuant to the procedures set forth in Sec.  
25.158 after August 27, 2003, authorizing operations in a frequency 
band for which the Commission has not adopted frequency band-specific 
service rules at the time the license is granted, the licensee will be 
required to comply with the following technical requirements, 
notwithstanding the frequency bands specified in these rule provisions: 
Sec. Sec.  25.143(b)(2)(iv), 25.204(e), and 25.210(f), (i), and (j).
* * * * *

0
20. Revise Sec.  25.261 to read as follows:


Sec.  25.261   Sharing among NGSO FSS space stations.

    (a) Scope. This section applies to NGSO FSS operation with earth 
stations with directional antennas anywhere in the world under a 
Commission license, or in the United States under a grant of U.S. 
market access.
    (b) Coordination. NGSO FSS operators must coordinate in good faith 
the use of commonly authorized frequencies.
    (c) Default procedure. Absent coordination between two or more 
satellite systems, whenever the increase in system noise temperature of 
an earth station receiver, or a space station receiver for a satellite 
with on-board processing, of either system, [Delta]T/T, exceeds 6 
percent due to interference from emissions originating in the other 
system in a commonly authorized frequency band, such frequency band 
will be divided among the affected satellite networks in accordance 
with the following procedure:
    (1) Each of n (number of) satellite networks involved must select 
1/n of the assigned spectrum available in each of these frequency 
bands. The selection order for each satellite network will be 
determined by the date that the first space station in each satellite 
system is launched and capable of operating in the frequency band under 
consideration;
    (2) The affected station(s) of the respective satellite systems may 
operate in only the selected (1/n) spectrum associated with its 
satellite system while the [Delta]T/T of 6 percent threshold is 
exceeded;
    (3) All affected station(s) may resume operations throughout the 
assigned frequency bands once the threshold is no longer exceeded.


Sec.  25.271   [Amended]

0
21. In Sec.  25.271, remove and reserve paragraph (e).

0
22. Add Sec.  25.289 to subpart D to read as follows:


Sec.  25.289   Protection of GSO networks by NGSO systems.

    Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, an NGSO system licensee 
must not cause unacceptable interference to, or claim protection from, 
a GSO FSS or GSO BSS network. An NGSO FSS licensee operating in 
compliance with the applicable equivalent power flux-

[[Page 59987]]

density limits in Article 22, Section II of the ITU Radio Regulations 
(incorporated by reference, Sec.  25.108) will be considered as having 
fulfilled this obligation with respect to any GSO network.

[FR Doc. 2017-26532 Filed 12-15-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P