U.S. regulators proposed easing restrictions on satellite companies in a move aimed at freeing more airwaves to feed the growing demand for wireless broadband services.
The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to seek comment on a plan to let satellite companies partner with other business seeking to build land-based networks or to lease their spectrum to other companies in a secondary market.
The FCC also sought public comment on allowing satellite companies to relinquish spectrum in return for proceeds from future airwaves auctions.
The plan could affect about 90 megahertz of spectrum, held by companies such as SkyTerra Communications Inc, TerreStar Corp and Globalstar Inc, that is particularly suited to broadband delivery.
The FCC’s National Broadband Plan aims to open up 500 megahertz (MHz) of airwaves by 2020.
The FCC is also trying to persuade broadcasters to relinquish about 125 megahertz of spectrum under a voluntary plan.
The satellite move comes after the FCC in late March approved an application by Harbinger Capital Partners to acquire SkyTerra, a mobile satellite services company.