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News | 04/29/2003 4:00 am EDT

FCC introduces new satellite licensing process
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has unveiled a new streamlined satellite licensing process, which is designed to speed up the approval, launching and operation of satellites. Last February, the FCC undertook a consultation to review its past procedures with the goal of making the satellite approval process more effective. The primary modification is the creation of a first-come, first-serve licensing process whereby satellite applications will be considered based on the order in which they are filed. "The goal of this framework is to create a regulatory environment in which satellite providers can respond quickly and efficiently to the challenges of a competitive telecommunications industry, and ultimately to provide new satellite services to consumers as expeditiously as possible," the FCC wrote in an April 23 news release. The commission also adopted other measures designed to allow market mechanisms to play a greater role in determining spectrum use by satellite systems. The FCC has now instituted safeguards to discourage speculation on orbital slot real estate, including a limit of five pending fixed satellite applications and one unbuilt fixed satellite, and one pending mobile satellite or unbuilt mobile satellite system. The FCC has also revised the licensing process for non-U.S. satellites to make them consistent with the new procedures.

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