Use of Foreign Satellite Navigation Signals

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require licensing of non-federal receive-only equipment operating with foreign satellite systems, including receive-only earth stations operating with non-U.S. licensed radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) satellites.

View the rules at eCFR.gov:

Waiver Process & Criteria

On March 15, 2011, the FCC issued a public notice regarding a licensing waiver process applicable to receivers of foreign RNSS signals. The notice includes a letter from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on behalf of the Executive Branch.
View public notice (1.5 MB PDF)

The letter states that upon receipt of a request from a foreign government implementing a RNSS system, NTIA will consider recommending that the FCC grant a waiver of its licensing requirement if the NTIA determines, in consultation with other relevant Executive Branch agencies, that:

The letter contemplates that NTIA will submit any recommendation for waiver to the FCC, and that the FCC would then review the request for compatibility with non-federal U.S.-licensed systems. The FCC will assign a file number to any such recommendation and issue a public notice providing an opportunity for comment prior to FCC action on the request.

arrowReturn to top of page

Galileo Waiver

Galileo logo On November 15, 2018, the European Union received the first waiver of the FCC's licensing requirements under the process described above.

The FCC waiver order permits non-federal U.S. receive-only earth stations to operate with specific signals of the Galileo GNSS without obtaining a license or grant of market access.

NTIA submitted the waiver request on behalf of the European Commission (EC) in 2013, and the FCC solicited public comments on it in 2017.

Related documents

arrowReturn to top of page

E911

In August 2020, the FCC issued an order granting the request of AT&T Services, Inc., on behalf of its wireless affiliates, for authorization to use Galileo for Enhanced 911 (E911) purposes.
View order at FCC.gov

AT&T submitted the request in response to the FCC's report and order of January 2015, which strengthened E911 location accuracy rules to improve location determination for outdoor as well as indoor calls. In that order, the FCC anticipated the combination of GPS with foreign satellite navigation signals to comply with the new rules, but stated that,"We do not decide the issue of operating with non-U.S. satellite signals in this proceeding."
View 2015 report and order at FCC.gov

arrowReturn to top of page

Some links on this page lead to content in the Portable Document Format (PDF) and may require you to install PDF software. Get software

Take Action: