Federal Register

1/13/2017: FCC proposes to cease operating as an accounting authority for settling accounts for maritime mobile and maritime mobile-satellite radio services

Written by Mr. Joseph Hersey, Coast Guard Office of Cybersecurity & Communications Policy

On Dec. 30, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking reaffirming its earlier decision to withdraw as an accounting authority of last resort in the maritime mobile and maritime mobile-satellite radio services and to transfer its functions and duties as an accounting authority to private accounting authorities. The International Telecommunications Union has established accounting authorities to act as a billing intermediary between the maritime mobile station and service providers. The role of an accounting authority may be undertaken by an Administration (in the United States, the FCC); a recognized operating agency (ROA); or any other entity or entities designated for this purpose by the Administration.

FCC’s withdrawal as a maritime accounting authority is expected to affect users of Inmarsat terminals, particularly legacy terminals such as those required to be carried onboard ship under Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) regulations, as well as mariners who use ship-to-shore marine radiotelephone operator services of remaining VHF and HF public coast stations.

FCC’s comment deadline on this proposal is 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/, selecting IB Docket No. 98-96.

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