This week the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially proposed and voted in favor of a draft for satellites to communicate directly with smartphonesso you can put an end to the “no signal” notification, no matter where you are in the world.
This is the first complete draft that has been made public about the objectives of the Federal Commission, through the establishment of guidelines and rules that revolve around this idea of communication.
For their part, large companies such as Apple have already shown the potential of this technology. Others like Lynk and AST SpaceMobile work to offer bidirectional information in any part of the globe. For their part, SpaceX and T-Mobile have confirmed that they plan to test their own system, based on the starlink systemthis 2023. And many other companies want to join too.
The difficulties that arise
The main current dilemma is to integrate this connectivity into current systems. The networks with which ‘smartphones’ operate work with very specific frequencies, so that they do not interfere with those emitted by other types of device, among which are precisely satellites.
“The FCC seeks to establish clear and transparent processes to support supplemental coverage from space. Operators collaborating with service providers on Earth could obtain the FCC clearance to also operate on space stations“This agency explained in a press release.
In this way, a satellite operator could basically work with a carrier to change mobile phone settings, so that when there is no signal, the device will automatically connect to the satellite signal. But first you need to follow a process, to make sure that the structure of the system and its responsibility are adequate. The problem, if not done correctly, is that there are pirate satellites that can deceive users and to your devices.
The FCC opinion
The four FCC commissioners agree that this is a good start, but also that they have to be ready if circumstances change. “The framework we propose is a pioneer in the world. By offering clear rules, I believe we can kick-start further innovations in the space economy, while expanding wireless coverage to remote and unserved areas. We can make dead spots a thing of the past“, affirmed the president of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel.
“The point we’re adopting today recognizes that consumers don’t care if the signal comes to them from a tower, or from a satellite orbiting the Earth. They only care be able to access a high-quality and affordable connection“added Commissioner Brendan Carr.
But another commissioner, Nathan Simington, despite agreeing, was more reserved. with the question that the industries involved should interveneso that the project evolves properly and accommodates the changing and frenetic technological sector.
What the project would entail
“Create a frame that works for every conceivable trade deal and every technology It’s not easy, and it risks bogging down progress as we work towards new standards. To address this, the notice of proposed rulemaking choose some initial access criteriaand thus pick up pace with those proposals that present less technical challenges”, also added commissioner Geoffrey Starks.
Both this commissioner and Simington commented on the importance of pointing out that these rules do not imply the prohibition of those innovations that do not exactly fit to these initial parameters. Rosenworcel added that, if handled properly, this can become the beginning of a true multimodal framework for wireless communication. It would focus more on the achievements of the project, and not so much on the very nature of its infrastructure.
“We have an opportunity to take our politics into the future, and move beyond binary choices. between the spectrum for mobiles and that for satellites. This means that we will be able to reshape debates about airwave access, and develop other ways to get more out of our existing resources. This is exciting, so let’s go for it,” Rosenworcel exclaimed.