FCC Deletes Ka Frequencies From Telco Licenses

The FCC released a Memorandum Opinion and Order (DA 11-1650) deleting 28.35-29.1 GHz from licenses held by several telecommunications companies, including Verizon, multiple Bell phone companies, and Hawaiian Telecom. Hughes Network Systems and DirecTV Enterprises had requested the FCC delete this band and the 29.25-29.5 GHz band. The FCC denied the requests with respect to the 29.25-29.5 GHz band.

When the FCC granted a Hughes request for blanket licensing in the 29.25-29.5 GHz band in 2002, it required GSO FSS (fixed satellite service) earth stations to "take these co-primary FS [fixed service] operations into account when deploying blanket earth stations in the 29.25-20.5 GHz band." The FCC, however, did not retain a designation for fixed services in the 28.35-29.1 GHz band. The Order states, "we decline to revisit at this time the Commission's decision to treat the two bands differently."

Each of the licenses considered in this Order were originally licensed prior to 1996 under Part 21, which included the 27.5-29.5 GHz band.

The FCC reaffirmed the microwave licensees' co-primary station and said that granting Hughes' and DirecTV's request would be inconsistent with this status.

This is good news for the fixed service licensees. It will be interesting to see if the FCC applies the same standard when it comes to operations in the 2.5 GHz band that's shared with broadcast auxiliary service 2 GHz channel A10. Many TV stations hold licenses with grandfathered status on this spectrum.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack. A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.