House rejects a bill intended to reform satellite spectrum licensing

A bill intended to provide a long awaited reform for satellite spectrum licensing did not pass the House on July 25. The Satellite and Telecommunications Streamlining Act was going to set a time limit on FCC`s review of satellite licenses and expedite reviews of minor license modifications. However, the House leadership committee opposed the bill because of provisions regarding regulation of space debris and space traffic management.

The bill`s intention was to improve the licensing for space systems at the FCC to ensure American Satellite Communication initiatives stay competitive in the international market. However, House representatives thought this bill would grant FCC too much authority and divert the organization from its original mission, which is to assess applicant’s spectrum use. This bill was perceived to make FCC the new space traffic regulator and expand its jurisdiction over the space industry as a whole. While the bill was designed to quicken the licensing processes for commercial space systems, it would inevitable grant FCC authority of space safety which house of Representatives did not see as being the right thing to do.