For the second time, the FCC denied a request from satellite earth station operator PSSI Global Services to stay the C-band auction.
PSSI receives, but is not licensed to transmit, radio communications via satellite in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band. PSSI holds licenses to transmit in the 5.925-6.425 GHz band, which is “paired” with the C-band, and the Ku-band. PSSI buys C-band and 5.925-6.425 GHz band satellite capacity on a part-time basis for coverage of live sporting events.
Satellites “typically have 24 transponders, each with a bandwidth of 36 megahertz. Thus, the 24 transponders on a satellite use 864 megahertz of spectrum, or 364 megahertz more than the 500 megahertz available,” said the FCC in its C-band order. “Spectrum reuse” effectively gives space station operators “more capacity than the spectrum in their licenses would provide without these techniques, and this will continue to be the case when they transition to the upper 200 megahertz of the band.”
To obtain a stay, PSSI had to show that: (1) it is likely to prevail on the merits; (2) it will suffer irreparable harm absent grant of the stay; (3) other parties will not be harmed if the stay is granted; and (4) the public interest favors grant of the stay. In its denial decision, the agency said PSSI “falls far short” of that criteria.
PSSI alleged two types of harm: (1) scarcity of satellite capacity for PSSI’s occasional use due to the repurposing of the lower portion of the C-band; and (2) potential interference and equipment damage from wireless broadband service in the repurposed spectrum. “These alleged harms are not imminent, certain, or severe enough to warrant a stay,” said the Commission, which added there’s no risk of immediate harm.
PSSI argued that, absent a stay, future harm “will be a fait accompli” because the auction and transition “cannot be undone – except with great difficulty.” The FCC said it rejected the same argument in the previous decision and did so again for the same reasons.
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