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FCC Allocates Ku-Band Spectrum for Airborne ‘Earth Stations’

The FCC, in its Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration (FCC 14-45), has adopted a primary allocation for Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA) in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band, with provisions for regulatory parity for ESAA.

In response to a petition for reconsideration and clarification filed by Boeing Company, the Commission clarified some of the ESAA rules, providing greater regulatory certainty for ESAA systems sharing spectrum with other FSS applications.

A revised footnote NG55 of the Table of Allocations authorizes operations on a primary basis for ESV, VMES and ESAA in the 11.7 to 12.2 GHz and 14.0 to 14.5 GHz bands. ESV and VMES had primary status and the FCC agreed both of them are technically and operationally similar to ESAA. The Second R&O states: "We also agree with commenters contending that primary status would promote regulatory and operational certainty, which, in turn, would help services being offered in this band to continue to grow and improve."

For a complete description of the rules changes, including some corrections to technical and operational rules, refer to the Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration (FCC 14-45) in the matter of revision of Parts 2 and 25 of the Commission's rules to govern the use of Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft communicating with Fixed-Satellite Service geostationary-orbit space stations.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.