FCC Proposes Licensing Rule to Authorize Space-Based Connections in Mobile Devices

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The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a new rule to connect satellites with mobile devices to enable 5G communications in remote and underserved areas.

FCC said Thursday it aims to establish a framework for delivering space-based services to smartphone users to address wireless coverage gaps in internet-denied communities.

The commission proposes authorizing satellite operators to manage space stations on a licensed radio frequency spectrum allocated to terrestrial service providers. 

Non-geostationary orbit satellite operators may also apply for FCC authorization to access the terrestrial spectrum if certain requirements are met.

Rick Lober, vice president for defense programs at Hughes Network Systems, said in a Breaking Defense report that the proposed rule would help address the Department of Defense’s “terminal problem, that they’ve been living with for a lot of years, of very expensive terminals that are all proprietary systems.”

However, Lober noted that there are security concerns about enabling direct satellite-to-phone services for combat operations because the frequencies used by mobile devices are “open to jamming.”

Hughes is working with DISH Wireless to provide a cyber-protected 5G network for U.S. Navy personnel at Whidbey Island Naval Station.

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