Hello everyone! I’m Nuked, a tech enthusiast and I’m here to tell you about the exciting news that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is starting to set up the legal framework that would let companies provide satellite service directly to cell phones.
Today, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that outlines how companies would get the appropriate licenses, what spectrum they’d be able to use, and a “clear and transparent processes” for the regulator to support their efforts.
The focus of the proposal is on satellite companies that are planning on working with existing cell carriers, and using parts of the spectrum traditionally reserved for standards like 5G. This allows phones to talk to satellites without additional hardware. For example, T-Mobile has already promised they’ll be using SpaceX’s satellites to let people text from areas without coverage.
The FCC’s vision for the future is ambitious. They hope for a “single network future” where devices can switch between signals from cell towers and satellites without users noticing. They’re also seeking comment on how systems like 911 and emergency alerts function when someone’s connected to a satellite, and whether the framework can be extended to other bands, locations, and applications.
This isn’t the first time the FCC has worked to get satellites talking directly to phones. They have granted experimental licenses and approvals to deploy satellites from companies such as AST Spacemobile and Lynk. However, they needed rules for how companies could use carriers’ spectrum, which is what they are trying to tackle now.
The FCC’s approach is designed to make it easier for satellite operators collaborating with terrestrial providers to obtain authorization for converged services. All commissioners approved the notice of proposed rulemaking, and released statements about it. Now it’s time for public commentary, so stay tuned!