Updates Concerning Non-Geostationary, Fixed-Satellite Service Systems and Related Matters, 52869-52871 [2017-24726]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Proposed Rules FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 25 [IB Docket No. 16–408; FCC 17–122] Updates Concerning NonGeostationary, Fixed-Satellite Service Systems and Related Matters Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Federal Communications Commission proposes to remove the domestic coverage requirement for nongeostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO), fixed-satellite service (FSS) satellite systems. SUMMARY: Comments are due January 2, 2018. Reply comments are due January 29, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by IB Docket No. 16–408, by any of the following methods: • Federal Communications Commission’s Web site: http:// apps.fcc.gov/ecfs. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202–418–0530 or TTY: 202– 418–0432. For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Clay DeCell, Clay.DeCell@fcc.gov, 202–418– 0803. DATES: This is a summary of the Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), FCC 17–122, adopted September 26, 2017, and released September 27, 2017. The full text of the FNPRM is available at https:// apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/ FCC-17-122A1.pdf. The FNPRM is also available for inspection and copying during business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities, send an email to FCC504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202– 418–0530 (voice), 202–418–0432 (TTY). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comment Filing Requirements Pursuant to §§ 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.415 and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998). • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://apps.fcc.gov/ ecfs. • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. • All hand-delivered or messengerdelivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW–A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building. • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554. People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202–418–0530 (voice), 202– 418–0432 (tty). Ex Parte Presentations The proceeding this FNPRM initiates shall be treated as a ‘‘permit-butdisclose’’ proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules, 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 52869 deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules. Paperwork Reduction Act This document contains proposed modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107–198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. Synopsis The Commission requires NGSO FSS systems to provide continuous coverage of the fifty states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Systems with more localized coverages are prohibited. This E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 52870 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS requirement stems from a similar requirement placed on NGSO MSS systems which are, as a general matter, unable to share spectrum without causing harmful interference. The domestic coverage requirement for NGSO FSS systems could be unnecessary or counterproductive, however. For example, among the several pending applications that request waivers of this requirement, one operator seeks to provide service in remote areas of Alaska as part of an ‘‘Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission.’’ Its satellite system would operate in a highly elliptical orbit chosen to maximize service to the Arctic region, but which prevents coverage of the lower United States. Another operator is currently providing low-latency satellite service to Americans at sea. The equatorial orbit of its system, however, precludes U.S. coverage at high latitudes. Such specialized systems may be authorized by foreign administrations and intended to serve only part of the United States. We do not believe it would serve the public interest to block access to these systems solely because of their specialized coverage areas, given that multiple NGSO FSS systems can share the same frequency bands. Rather, we expect that the most efficient way to encourage widespread service offerings by NGSO FSS systems, including in remote and underserved areas of the United States, would be to allow both general and specialized coverage systems. We therefore propose to remove the domestic coverage requirement for NGSO FSS systems operating in all permitted spectrum bands, which we believe will afford operators greater flexibility in their system designs. We invite comment on this proposal. Given that this requirement applies to NGSO FSS systems by default, is it appropriate to deny access to every concerned frequency band if a system design does not allow for continuous U.S. coverage? What are the advantages of retaining, or removing, this coverage requirement? For parties that support retaining the domestic coverage requirement, are there particular considerations we should take into account when deciding whether or not to waive it in a particular case? Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in this FNPRM. We request written public VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 comments on this IRFA. Commenters must identify their comments as responses to the IRFA and must file the comments by the deadlines for comments on the FNPRM provided above in DATES. The Commission will send a copy of the FNPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. In addition, the FNPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register. A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules The FNPRM proposes to delete the requirement that non-geostationary, fixed-satellite service systems provide continuous coverage of the fifty United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in order to afford operators greater design flexibility. B. Legal Basis The proposed action is authorized under Sections 4(i), 7(a), 10, 303, 308(b), and 316 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 157(a), 160, 303, 308(b), 316. C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rules May Apply The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of, the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term ‘‘small entity’’ as having the same meaning as the terms ‘‘small business,’’ ‘‘small organization,’’ and ‘‘small governmental jurisdiction.’’ In addition, the term ‘‘small business’’ has the same meaning as the term ‘‘small business concern’’ under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Satellite Telecommunications. This category comprises firms ‘‘primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.’’ The category has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules. For this category, Census Bureau data for 2012 show that there were a total of 333 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 299 firms had annual receipts of PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 less than $25 million. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of satellite telecommunications providers are small entities. D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities The FNPRM proposes to delete a requirement that non-geostationary, fixed-satellite service systems demonstrate that they will provide continuous domestic coverage. This would reduce paperwork costs for such satellite operators. E. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): ‘‘(1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rules for such small entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.’’ The FNPRM proposes to delete a requirement to demonstrate coverage of the United States. This would wholly eliminate the economic and other impacts of this rule. However, the Commission invites comment on this change and any alternatives. F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rules None. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 25 Satellites. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 25 as follows: PART 25—SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: Interprets or applies 47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302, 303, 307, 309, 310, 319, 332, 605, and 721, unless otherwise noted. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Proposed Rules § 25.146 [Amended] 2. In § 25.146, remove paragraph (b) and redesignate paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) as paragraphs (b), (c), and (d). ■ 3. In § 25.217 revise paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows: ■ § 25.217 Default service rules. * * * * * (b)(1) For all NGSO-like satellite licenses for which the application was filed pursuant to the procedures set forth in § 25.157 after August 27, 2003, authorizing operations in a frequency band for which the Commission has not adopted frequency band-specific service rules at the time the license is granted, the licensee will be required to comply with the following technical requirements, notwithstanding the frequency bands specified in these rule provisions: §§ 25.143(b)(2)(ii) (except NGSO FSS systems), (iii) (except NGSO FSS systems), 25.204(e), 25.210(f), (i). * * * * * [FR Doc. 2017–24726 Filed 11–14–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 697 [Docket No. 150401332–7999–01] RIN 0648–BF01 Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery; Control Date for Lobster Conservation Management Areas National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); request for comments. AGENCY: This document announces that NMFS is considering changes to the lobster management program and may select a control date to restrict the number of permits or traps an individual or business entity may own, with specific emphasis on Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LCMAs) 2 and 3. NMFS may use the existing control date of January 27, 2014, which was published in the Federal Register, the publication date of this present ANPR, or another date for this purpose, pending public comment and further input by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 (Commission). This action may be necessary to control effort in the American lobster fishery and mitigate impacts on the depleted Southern New England (SNE) lobster stock. NMFS intends for this document to promote awareness of possible rulemaking and notify the public that actions taken to acquire lobster trap allocation and permits after the control date may not be recognized in the future. DATES: We must receive written comments on or before December 15, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2013–0169 by any of the following methods: D Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= NOAA-NMFS-2013-0169, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. D Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on Lobster Control Date.’’ Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. We may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). We accept attachments to electronic comments only in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Burns, Fishery Policy Analyst, 978–281–9144. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background NMFS works cooperatively with the states to conserve the American lobster resource within the framework of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 52871 Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster (ISFMP). Through the ISFMP, the Commission adopts fishery conservation and management strategies for the American lobster resource and coordinates the efforts of the states and NMFS to implement these strategies. The Commission, NMFS, and the affected states have worked to develop a strategy to address the declining SNE stock and control effort in the American lobster fishery. That strategy, which took shape in several addenda to Amendment 3 of the Commission’s ISFMP, attempted to achieve this goal while maintaining the historic character of the lobster fishery, which has traditionally been comprised of small owner-operator businesses. As the Commission’s ISFMP limited access to the fishery, the Commission was concerned that lobster permits might consolidate among a concentrated number of larger conglomerates. As a result, the Commission’s ISFMP introduced the concept of permit restrictions in 2003 in Addendum IV and again in 2005 in Addendum VII. These two addenda contemplated limiting the aggregate number of permits an individual or entity may own in LCMAs 2 and 3. Concern about fishery consolidation and conglomeration intensified with the advent of the Commission’s Trap Transfer Program in 2014. The Trap Transfer Program allows lobster fishermen to buy or sell partial trap allocations up to, but not exceeding, any applicable LCMA trap cap. Attrition in the fishery from the SNE stock decline resulted in a relatively high amount of latent trap effort in the SNE LCMAs. The Commission became concerned that businesses could cheaply purchase and combine latent permits and then activate them by transferring the trap allocation onto the permit or by activating traps that were already associated with a permit under the trap banking provisions of Addendum XVIII. Accordingly, the Commission revisited permit and effort restriction strategies in Addendum XXI in August 2013 and Addendum XXII in October 2013. These addenda limit the number of traps that any one individual or entity may own in LCMAs 2 and 3 and are the focus of this rulemaking action. Under these addenda, permit holders may also purchase traps in excess of the active permit cap and ‘‘bank’’ them. The banked allocation may be used in the future to offset the economic impacts associated with a multi-year schedule of annual trap reductions in LCMAs 2 and 3 that were adopted in Addendum XVIII E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 15, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52869-52871]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-24726]



[[Page 52869]]

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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 25

[IB Docket No. 16-408; FCC 17-122]


Updates Concerning Non-Geostationary, Fixed-Satellite Service 
Systems and Related Matters

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Communications Commission proposes to remove the 
domestic coverage requirement for non-geostationary-satellite orbit 
(NGSO), fixed-satellite service (FSS) satellite systems.

DATES: Comments are due January 2, 2018. Reply comments are due January 
29, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by IB Docket No. 16-408, 
by any of the following methods:
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Clay DeCell, Clay.DeCell@fcc.gov, 202-
418-0803.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), FCC 17-122, adopted 
September 26, 2017, and released September 27, 2017. The full text of 
the FNPRM is available at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-122A1.pdf. The FNPRM is also available for 
inspection and copying during business hours in the FCC Reference 
Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, 
Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in accessible formats for 
people with disabilities, send an email to FCC504@fcc.gov or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (TTY).

Comment Filing Requirements

    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 
47 CFR 1.415 and 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply 
comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this 
document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in 
Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket 
or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours 
are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together 
with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be 
disposed of before entering the building.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, 
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.
     U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.
    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).

Ex Parte Presentations

    The proceeding this FNPRM initiates shall be treated as a ``permit-
but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte 
rules, 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq. Persons making ex parte presentations must 
file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any 
oral presentation within two business days after the presentation 
(unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period 
applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that 
memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons 
attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex 
parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and 
arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted 
in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already 
reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other 
filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such 
data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other 
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where 
such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the 
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex 
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must 
be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 
rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of 
electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda 
summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, 
must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available 
for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., 
.doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding 
should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document contains proposed modified information collection 
requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of 
Management and Budget to comment on the information collection 
requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, pursuant to the 
Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might further 
reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns 
with fewer than 25 employees.

Synopsis

    The Commission requires NGSO FSS systems to provide continuous 
coverage of the fifty states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
Systems with more localized coverages are prohibited. This

[[Page 52870]]

requirement stems from a similar requirement placed on NGSO MSS systems 
which are, as a general matter, unable to share spectrum without 
causing harmful interference.
    The domestic coverage requirement for NGSO FSS systems could be 
unnecessary or counterproductive, however. For example, among the 
several pending applications that request waivers of this requirement, 
one operator seeks to provide service in remote areas of Alaska as part 
of an ``Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission.'' Its satellite system 
would operate in a highly elliptical orbit chosen to maximize service 
to the Arctic region, but which prevents coverage of the lower United 
States. Another operator is currently providing low-latency satellite 
service to Americans at sea. The equatorial orbit of its system, 
however, precludes U.S. coverage at high latitudes. Such specialized 
systems may be authorized by foreign administrations and intended to 
serve only part of the United States. We do not believe it would serve 
the public interest to block access to these systems solely because of 
their specialized coverage areas, given that multiple NGSO FSS systems 
can share the same frequency bands. Rather, we expect that the most 
efficient way to encourage widespread service offerings by NGSO FSS 
systems, including in remote and underserved areas of the United 
States, would be to allow both general and specialized coverage 
systems.
    We therefore propose to remove the domestic coverage requirement 
for NGSO FSS systems operating in all permitted spectrum bands, which 
we believe will afford operators greater flexibility in their system 
designs. We invite comment on this proposal. Given that this 
requirement applies to NGSO FSS systems by default, is it appropriate 
to deny access to every concerned frequency band if a system design 
does not allow for continuous U.S. coverage? What are the advantages of 
retaining, or removing, this coverage requirement? For parties that 
support retaining the domestic coverage requirement, are there 
particular considerations we should take into account when deciding 
whether or not to waive it in a particular case?

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Commission 
has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the 
possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities by the policies and rules proposed in this FNPRM. We request 
written public comments on this IRFA. Commenters must identify their 
comments as responses to the IRFA and must file the comments by the 
deadlines for comments on the FNPRM provided above in DATES. The 
Commission will send a copy of the FNPRM, including this IRFA, to the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. In 
addition, the FNPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published 
in the Federal Register.

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    The FNPRM proposes to delete the requirement that non-
geostationary, fixed-satellite service systems provide continuous 
coverage of the fifty United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin 
Islands, in order to afford operators greater design flexibility.

B. Legal Basis

    The proposed action is authorized under Sections 4(i), 7(a), 10, 
303, 308(b), and 316 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 
U.S.C. 154(i), 157(a), 160, 303, 308(b), 316.

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rules May Apply

    The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where 
feasible, an estimate of, the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines 
the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms 
``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental 
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' has the same 
meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the Small Business 
Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned 
and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) 
satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA).
    Satellite Telecommunications. This category comprises firms 
``primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other 
establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by 
forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of 
satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.'' The category 
has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average 
annual receipts, under SBA rules. For this category, Census Bureau data 
for 2012 show that there were a total of 333 firms that operated for 
the entire year. Of this total, 299 firms had annual receipts of less 
than $25 million. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of 
satellite telecommunications providers are small entities.

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    The FNPRM proposes to delete a requirement that non-geostationary, 
fixed-satellite service systems demonstrate that they will provide 
continuous domestic coverage. This would reduce paperwork costs for 
such satellite operators.

E. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, 
specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in 
reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four 
alternatives (among others): ``(1) The establishment of differing 
compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into 
account the resources available to small entities; (2) the 
clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and 
reporting requirements under the rules for such small entities; (3) the 
use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption 
from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small 
entities.''
    The FNPRM proposes to delete a requirement to demonstrate coverage 
of the United States. This would wholly eliminate the economic and 
other impacts of this rule. However, the Commission invites comment on 
this change and any alternatives.

F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rules

    None.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 25

    Satellites.

Federal Communications Commission.

Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 25 as follows:

PART 25--SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Interprets or applies 47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302, 303, 
307, 309, 310, 319, 332, 605, and 721, unless otherwise noted.

[[Page 52871]]

Sec.  25.146  [Amended]

0
2. In Sec.  25.146, remove paragraph (b) and redesignate paragraphs 
(c), (d), and (e) as paragraphs (b), (c), and (d).
0
3. In Sec.  25.217 revise paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  25.217  Default service rules.

* * * * *
    (b)(1) For all NGSO-like satellite licenses for which the 
application was filed pursuant to the procedures set forth in Sec.  
25.157 after August 27, 2003, authorizing operations in a frequency 
band for which the Commission has not adopted frequency band-specific 
service rules at the time the license is granted, the licensee will be 
required to comply with the following technical requirements, 
notwithstanding the frequency bands specified in these rule provisions: 
Sec. Sec.  25.143(b)(2)(ii) (except NGSO FSS systems), (iii) (except 
NGSO FSS systems), 25.204(e), 25.210(f), (i).
* * * * *

[FR Doc. 2017-24726 Filed 11-14-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P