The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to enable companies to provide satellite service to cell phones without the need for additional hardware. SpaceX, T-Mobile, AST Spacemobile and Lynk are among the companies attempting to achieve this. The proposal will provide a legal framework for these companies to obtain appropriate licenses and spectrum use, while creating transparent and clear processes to help facilitate their efforts. The ultimate goal of the FCC is a “single network future,” where devices operate seamlessly between signals received from cell towers and satellites. The FCC is presently seeking comment on how 911 and emergency alerts should function when someone is connected to a satellite, as well as considering how to expand the framework to other bands, locations and applications. The Commission previously granted experimental licenses and satellite deployment approvals to companies, but from the experimental stage onwards a prescribed set of rules governing use of cellular carriers’ spectrum appeared necessary. All commissioners approved the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, but public commentary on the proposal may be lively.
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