US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair Jessica Rosenworcel outlined a plan to reorganise the agency to better support the needs of the satellite industry, arguing the regulator’s current rules had not kept pace with the changing communications landscape.

Rosenworcel plans to split the FCC’s current International Bureau in two, with one unit focused on space regulation and the other on its work with other global regulators.

The FCC head stated the Space Bureau would ensure the regulator correctly aligns its resources to meet its statutory obligations, “improve its coordination” with the US government “and support the 21st century satellite industry”.

Rosenworcel noted the agency received applications for 64,000 new satellites over the past two years, along with “new commercial models, new players, and new technologies” in a range of pioneering “satellite services and space-based activities that need access to wireless airwaves”.

The plan could also see tougher rules around tackling space debris, which Rosenworcel noted fell under the FCC’s control as part of legislation passed in 1934.

Rosenworcel’s vision involves creating a standalone Office of International Affairs to focus on matters of international communications regulation and licensing.