Though it established general service rules for satellite radio in 1997, the FCC is still struggling to craft such rules for XM and Sirius’ terrestrial repeaters — rules that will accommodate both satcasters and their spectrum neighbors, wireless communications service licensees.
SDARS and WCS services occupy 55 megahertz of spectrum from 2305-2360 MHz in the S-band. SDARS occupies the center portion, 2320-2345 MHz, and is divided evenly between the two SDARS licensees, Sirius at 2320-2332.5 MHz and XM at 2332.5-2345 MHz.
The WCS service occupies frequencies on either side of the SDARS allocation and consists of six blocks of five megahertz each in the 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360 MHz bands.
The satcasters are allowed to use the 2300 GHz spectrum for ancillary terrestrial service. Broadcasters have long worried that the satellite companies could use their terrestrial repeaters to send local programming; the FCC is considering limits on the ability of satcasters to distribute local programming over repeaters.
Both satcasters and the WCS say the FCC’s rules governing repeater use hamper the spectrum users in adjacent bands to operate without interfering with each other. Both kinds of users have proposed different ways of resolving the issue and the commission has invited public comments.
The agency also wants to update its record on potential interference between SDARS and WCS operations to take into account recent developments and said it wants comment on the emergence of new technologies. Comments on RM 8610 are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register to WT Docket 07-293, IB Docket 95-91, or GEN Docket 90-357.