SpaceX pushing FCC to adopt a shot clock to shorten licensing application reviews

Starlink satellite in space

SpaceX is urging the Federal Communication Commission to consider a time limit for the agency to review satellite licencing applications.

The company plans to propose reforms to the FCC at a meeting on December 21.

SpaceX has already posted its main argument via a letter in response to the FCC’s proposed changes to spur innovation in space.

In the letter, SpaceX noted: (via Law360)

While the commission’s draft provides sufficient notice to all stakeholders that [it] may adopt deadlines for its processing of applications, the commission could eliminate any ambiguity in its intention by explicitly proposing ‘shot clocks’ — i.e., defined, expedited time periods within which to process applications — to drive rapid, predictable resolution of all satellite and earth-station license applications.

SpaceX, of course, would like to see faster turnarounds on their applications to the FCC.

The company just received partial approval on December 1 of a May 2020 application, showcasing the slow timeline on which the FCC works, especially when an application is challenged.

As SpaceX noted in their letter:

These shot clocks will provide operators with essential clarity to support the significant investment required to design and deploy next-generation satellite networks to serve consumers while harmonizing the commission’s satellite rules with existing frameworks in other licensing contexts.

The FCC declined to comment on the current work streamlining their processes, and the proposed SpaceX shot clock idea.

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Originally from the West Coast, Scott is an avid writer & EV enthusiast now living in Ottawa. He holds a MA in Political Science and once played professional football in the German Football League. Email scott@driveteslacanada.ca