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Jocelyn Jezierny

Jocelyn Jezierny is an associate in Covington’s Washington, DC office and a member of the firm’s Communications and Media Industry Group. Before joining Covington, Jocelyn was an Attorney-Advisor in the Federal Communications Commission’s International Bureau, where she worked on matters pertaining to the licensing of foreign-owned U.S. telecommunications services providers.

Jocelyn is a member of the Bar of New York. District of Columbia bar application pending; supervised by principals of the firm.

Updated April 30, 2024.  Originally posted March 18, 2024.

In March, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a licensing framework that authorizes satellite operators to partner with terrestrial wireless providers to develop hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks intended to provide ubiquitous network connectivity, including in “dead zones” and other hard-to-reach areas.  Today’s Federal Register publication confirms that this new “Supplemental Coverage from Space” (SCS) regime will become effective Thursday, May 30, 2024, which will enable satellite operators to serve as a gap-filler in the networks of their wireless provider partners by using their satellite capability combined with spectrum previously allocated exclusively to terrestrial service.

Although the FCC’s new rules limit SCS deployments to a handful of spectrum bands, the licensing regime nevertheless marks a significant opportunity for joint operations by satellite operators and wireless service providers.  The FCC’s decision also demonstrates the agency’s commitment to leadership in regulating space-based technologies – a motivation the agency cited as justification for adopting an SCS regulatory framework described as “the first of its kind in the world.”

The SCS item, which the FCC adopted on March 14, 2024 consists of two parts: a Report and Order adopting a licensing framework for SCS deployments in specified frequency bands (the “Order”), and (2) a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) that seeks public comment on additional issues associated with the newly authorized SCS operations. Comments on the issues raised in the FNPRM are due Thursday, May 30, 2024, with reply comments due Monday, July 1, 2024.

New SCS Licensing Framework

The new SCS rules generally are consistent with the April 2023 NPRM, which proposed to allow SCS deployments in certain frequency bands and enable a satellite operator to apply for a modification of its existing FCC license to provide satellite services in these reallocated spectrum bands, provided certain conditions are met.  However, in response to public comment, the new SCS rules reflect some key changes from what the FCC originally proposed.

Terrestrial-Only Spectrum Bands Eligible for SCS Use

The FCC’s new SCS rules authorize communications from satellites networks to mobile devices (i.e., Mobile Satellite Services or MSS) in the following spectrum bands:Continue Reading FCC’s “Supplemental Coverage from Space” Rules Take Effect May 30; New Licensing Framework Expands Satellite-to-Smartphone Coverage

Yesterday, the FCC announced that on November 18, 2022, it will release a “pre-production draft” of its widely anticipated broadband maps, which will contain granular information about existing broadband infrastructure and service availability in the U.S. The maps, which the FCC was required by law to develop, will be used by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) to distribute $42.5 billion in funding to states for allocation to service providers who will use it to construct additional broadband networks.

The federal government’s allocation of these funds is pursuant to the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) Program, which was established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) in November 2021. Click here for our summary of the BEAD Program.

The FCC began this particular mapping initiative in August 2019. Doing so marked a departure from the agency’s prior mapping efforts, which had acknowledged gaps. The new initiative was informed in part by the March 2020 Broadband DATA Act, which required the FCC to collect granular data about geographic areas in which broadband infrastructure exists, as well as attributes such as download and upload speeds and latency. 

To ensure accuracy and avoid over- or under-funding certain locations, the FCC incorporated a “challenge process” into its broadband map development, through which governmental entities, broadband service providers, and others are able to submit bulk challenges to the data that the FCC collected. The FCC believes that this process will help it refine its maps before subsequent versions are released.Continue Reading FCC to Release Broadband Maps on November 18: Will Determine How $42.5 Billion in Funding Will be Allocated by NTIA in 2023