House Subcommittee Discusses US Development of Satellite Technology and Protecting It From Rival Threats

House Subcommittee Discusses US Development of Satellite Technology and Protecting It From Rival Threats
Animated illustration of satellites orbiting Earth. (Yucel Yilmaz/Adobe Stock)
Ross Muscato
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce conducted a Feb. 2 hearing that focused on the use of emerging satellite technology in commerce, defense, public safety—and bringing high-speed and affordable broadband access to under-served areas.

Also discussed in the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing, titled “Launching Into the State of the Satellite Marketplace,” were issues involving licensing, protecting satellite technology, and blocking enemies of the United States from intruding into and getting access to the nation’s satellite technology.

Satellite use and deployment are booming, with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fielding an unprecedented number of license requests.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui. (Courtesy of Doris Matsui)
Congresswoman Doris Matsui. (Courtesy of Doris Matsui)

Expediting the processing of applications has become a priority of the FCC, as it has for the subcommittee.

Answering questions and providing testimony at the hearing were witnesses—Tom Stroup, president of the Satellite Industry Association; Julia Zoller, head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Project Kulper at Amazon; Jennifer Manner, senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs at Echostar Corporation; Margo Deckard, co-founder and chief operating officer at Lynk Global; and Kari Bingen, director of aerospace security for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Chairman and Ranking Member Statements

In his remarks opening the hearing, subcommittee chair Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) noted, “In recent years, satellite communications technologies capabilities have dramatically advanced, and satellite operators have identified new ways to serve customers with greater speed and reliability.”

Latta added, “Satellite operations are also global in nature, which adds an additional layer of complexity when developing and operating systems.

“Because satellite systems rely on radio spectrum to operate, the use of this spectrum raises complex challenges that U.S. and international regulators must address.”

Latta said, “Our regulations must foster an environment of innovation and certainty.

“As countries like China seek to dominate the technology of the future, we must make the United States an attractive place to invest in cutting-edge developments that align with American values and guarantee the availability of trusted satellite communications.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking member, has served in the House since 2005 and, over that period, established herself as a leader in advancing policies that drive technology and its best use across all sectors of society.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that our subcommittee has more bearing on the United States technological leadership in the 21st century than any other,” said Matsui in her opening statement.

“From expanding affordable broadband access to developing the next generation of communications network, we have a unique opportunity to promote innovation and equity in technology.”

Further in her statement, Matsui said, “For the United States to remain the pacesetter in satellite communications, we need to modernize satellite governance to keep up with innovation.”