FCC Releases Orders Streamlining Non-Routine Earth Station Processing

As described in last week's RF Report, the FCC adopted rules at its March 10 meeting streamlining earth station licensing to speed deployment of broadband services to consumers. The Fifth Report and Order in IB Docket 00-245 and Third Report and Order in CC Docket 86-496 were released last week.

In addition to the items mentioned in last week's RF Report, the new rules increase the satellite downlink EIRP power spectral density limit for Ku-band earth stations from 6 dBW/4 kHz to 10 dBW/4 kHz. The aggregate hub earth station EIRP limit for VSAT systems was eliminated, although the -14.0 dBW/4 kHz input power density limit applying to all transmissions remains.

To speed approval of earth stations with non-routine antennas, the Order directs the International Bureau to establish a List of Approved Non-Routine Antennas on its website. The list will include antenna gain patterns and the conditions placed on the use of each antenna.

The NPRM invited comment on a proposal to establish VSAT-style blanket licensing for earth station networks where there are several individual earth station licensees each belonging to the same organization. The Alaska Bush network and National Public Radio's network are two examples of this. The FCC said that while this proposal was not expected to raise any technical issues, "it found that it might need to resolve legal issues regarding the entity responsible for complying with Commission rules before instituting such a procedure." No one offered any comments on the proposal or how these legal issues could be resolved and the FCC decided not to change its current policy of licensing each earth station.

For additional information, see the Fifth Report and Order in IB Docket 00-245 and Third Report and Order in CC Docket 86-496.