You be the judge as to whether the FCC has an accurate count of the earth stations now occupying C-band spectrum in the contiguous United States. The agency’s International Bureau released a list of more than 30,000 Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band the bureau found may satisfy the criteria to be classified as incumbent earth stations for purposes of the C-band repacking.
The Commission earlier adopted rules to make 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum available for flexible use, plus a 20 megahertz guard band, by moving existing services out of the lower portion and into the upper 200 megahertz of the C-band. The agency decided that new 3.7 GHz Service licensees (such as wireless carriers) will reimburse the relocation costs of eligible incumbents, including incumbent FSS earth station operators.
Incumbent earth stations can elect lump sum payments in lieu of actual moving costs. To do this, they must meet certain criteria:
- Operational as of April 18, 2018 filing freeze and remain operational; and registered (receive-only) or licensed (transmit/receive) in the 3700-4200 MHz band.
- If unregistered or unlicensed before April 18, 2018, registration or license applications must have been filed by November 7, 2018.
- If registered or licensed before April 18, 2018, the registrant or licensee must have: a) Certified the accuracy of the registration/license information in the International Bureau Filing System (IBFS) by May 28, 2019; OR b) Filed a modification/update to the registration or license in IBFS during the April 19, 2018 – November 7, 2018 filing window; OR Filed a timely renewal application for the existing registration or license by May 28, 2019.
The bureau was told to process earth station license or registration applications (whether for an initial grant, modification, or renewal) that were filed during the limited freeze window. Because of the thousands of earth stations, the bureau continues to process some applications that were filed on time. This list includes earth stations whose applications are pending. Applications that were dismissed for not meeting the criteria are not on the list, nor are those for whom the dismissal is not final.
The agency won’t consider requests to register, modify or amend applications in an attempt to try to qualify for incumbent status. The Commission will also not consider filings from current licensees or registrants to add existing antennas to a registration or license or change an earth station location.
Minor corrections will be accepted. Those include minor modifications to site address and/or GPS coordinates of an existing earth station location. Minor modifications in operations are allowed too. They include changes in an emission designator or, importantly, an antenna no longer in use, or other information that would help inform the satellite operators’ transition plans. Comments are due by July 16, to IB Docket 20-205.
The post Did the FCC Get These C-Band Earth Station Designations Right? appeared first on Inside Towers.