FCC May Prohibit Satellite Analog Video Transmissions

The FCC released its Sixth Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding streaming and revising its rules for satellite systems in Part 25. In reviewing the lengthy document, most of the changes involved specific changes to antenna performance requirements and contention protocol rules, which are too specific and technical to easily summarize here. I did, however, notice an interesting comment in the Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. In the section on Off-Axis ERP, under the item "Development of Off-Axis EIRP Envelope for FSS Earth Stations," paragraphs 84-88 relate specifically to analog video services. One of the options analyzed is prohibiting analog video transmissions rather than developing new off-axis EIRP envelopes for C-band and Ku-band analog video transmissions.

The FCC notes that "a prohibition on analog video transmissions may result in more efficient spectrum use" and that "analog satellite transmissions are declining." It concludes, "Technical rules for analog video use may no longer be necessary."

In Paragraph 88, the Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking states that the commission wants to prohibit analog video transmissions unless a convincing case is made that the transmissions are necessary and a technical study provides a basis for an analog off-axis EIPR envelope; also the transition should take no more than a year. "Commenters supporting continued use of analog video transmissions should specify the extent to which they currently use analog technology to transmit video, and the extent to which they plan to continue doing so. They should also indicate whether and to what extent converting from analog to digital transmissions will cause them any particular hardship, in terms of equipment costs or for any other reason, and how those costs compare to any benefits that might result from such a transition."

It will be interesting to see how much interest there is in maintaining the option to transmit analog video over satellite!

For more information the proposed end to analog video over satellite and for the specifics on the new antenna radiation pattern regulations, refer to the Sixth Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.