To gather more accurate information about existing earth stations and to better determine if access to the 3.7–4.2 GHz band should be expanded, the Federal Communications Commission is giving fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations more time to detail their current usage of C Band spectrum.
Back in April of this year, four FCC bureaus issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for FSS earth station licenses, FSS receive-only earth station registrations and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7–4.2 GHz frequency band. This was done to give the FCC an accurate snapshot of the C Band landscape. The commission is looking into the feasibility of permitting terrestrial broadband use within this band and will consider an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on this issue at its July Open Meeting.
Since the beginning of the freeze, however, many parties have shared their concerns with the FCC about the volume of unregistered earth stations and the difficulties that many of these operators may be facing in preparing information for filing.
“These parties indicate that without some relief, many operators will be unable to satisfy the filing deadline and the commission will be without accurate information for its deliberations in the midband proceeding,” the FCC said in a public notice released June 21.
As a result, the International Bureau has extended the 90-day filing date for an additional 90 days — until October 17 — in order to provide operators with more time to file applications. Keep in mind that only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, are eligible for filing during this window.
That original 90-day filing window was due to expire on July 18.
The FCC also waived the coordination report requirement for the duration of the freeze and clarified that applications to register multiple FSS antennas in this band (those located at the same location) may be filed by using a single registration form and paying a single fee. The bureau also announced that those who are registering a large number of geographically diverse earth stations can submit a single network license to ease issues with batch filing.
The National Association of Broadcasters has been vocal in expressing its concerns about sharing C Band spectrum with wireless operators. In a filing submitted earlier this month, the NAB urged the commission to require proponents of expanded use to submit specific and detailed technical proposals to the commission. “That is the only way to allow stakeholders to provide informed comments and analysis to guide the commission’s decision-making process,” the NAB said.