The Honorable Reed E. Hundt
Federal Communications Commission
1919 M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Re: Amendment of the Commission's Regulatory Policies to Allow Non-U.S. Licensed Space Stations to Provide Domestic and International Satellite Service in the United States, IB Docket No. 96-111
Dear Chairman Hundt:
I am writing as the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the Department of Commerce and responsible for promulgating and advocating policies regarding the Federal Government's use of the radio spectrum. This letter responds to the spectrum management issues raised in the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in the above-captioned proceeding, which is often referred to as "DISCO II." NTIA plans to file additional comments in the near future pertaining to other aspects of the NPRM.
The NPRM proposes changes in U.S. policies for addressing applications from non-U.S. satellite earth stations. Based on a reading of the NPRM in its entirety, it is our understanding that the Commission intends to apply these policies to commercial satellite systems that are subject to other Commission rules, such as those found in Part 2 and Part 25 of the 47 CFR. This is not explicitly stated in the NPRM. Interference to incumbent Government users may result in frequency bands allocated for exclusive Federal Government use if the reach of the proposed rules is not clarified.
We therefore recommend that the Commission make explicit the frequency bands and services to which the rules adopted in this proceeding will be applicable. Accordingly, the Commission should specify that the rules will apply to frequency bands that are allocated for exclusive non-Government use and to bands allocated for shared Government/non-Government use only (provided that rules for shared use are adopted, as discussed below). The Commission should also state explicitly that the DISCO II rules will not apply to frequency bands allocated for exclusive Government use.
In addition, we wish to remind the Commission that it must coordinate with NTIA before it implements any rules that permit the use of bands allocated for shared Government/non-Government use to prevent any interference with Government uses in these bands.(1) As part of this effort, the Commission should work with NTIA to adopt technical standards for earth stations operating with non-U.S. space stations in shared Government/non-Government bands to ensure efficient and interference-free use of the spectrum.
We look forward to working with you and your staff to reach a satisfactory conclusion on these spectrum issues. If you have any questions, please call William Gamble, NTIA Deputy Associate Administrator, at (202) 482-1850.
cc: The Honorable James H. Quello
The Honorable Susan Ness
The Honorable Rachelle B. Chong
William E. Kennard, General Counsel
1. See 47 U.S.C. 305(a); 47 U.S.C. 904(a)(1).