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US starts campaign for more spectrum for satellites and space

Wilbur Ross.jpg

The US government has taken the first steps in a move to increase the amount of radio spectrum available for satellite communications and other space applications.

The report, from the Department of Commerce (DoC), comes seven months before the next global conference on radio spectrum, when regulators and governments will attempt to reform use of the radio spectrum.

“In order for the United States to lead the world in a trillion-dollar space economy, spectrum policy must reflect the exploding demand in space and satellite services,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (pictured).

The report points out that “currently, there are over 800 operational American satellites in orbit, and by 2024, that number could exceed 15,000”. It adds: “Today’s satellites have capacities of up to 260Gbps which will increase to 1,000Gbps by the end of the decade.” Numbers will increase because of the development of “mega-constellations of lower cost-satellites to provide low-latency, high-speed broadband access across the globe”.

The report will set the tone for the US position at this year’s World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-19), due to take place over four weeks from 28 October in Egypt. Run by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it will discuss a new international treaty on the use of both spectrum and satellite orbits.

Ross sent his report to President Donald Trump. Written by the DoC with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Space Council and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as other federal entities, it makes 13 recommendations on spectrum, radio frequency licensing, international spectrum and stakeholder input.

Ross said: “We must, in federal and international proceedings, allocate and assign radio frequencies in a manner that recognises both terrestrial and satellite operations as essential for innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth.”

 

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