Maritime Communications

OGC-98-66: Published: Aug 6, 1998. Publicly Released: Aug 6, 1998.


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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) new rule on maritime communications. GAO noted that: (1) the rule would: (a) simplify the licensing process and add additional flexibility for public coast stations; (b) designate 42 geographic licensing regions for VHF public coast stations and assign all currently unassigned public correspondence channels on a geographic basis by competitive bidding; (c) permit the continued operation of incumbent VHF public coast station licensees and private land mobile radio licensees sharing marine spectrum and require incumbents and geographic licensees to afford each other interference protection; and (d) exempt VHF public coast stations from the Channel 16 safety watch requirement where a government station maintains a continuous watch over 95 percent of the station's service area; and (2) FCC complied with the applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.

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