FCC Says 2 GHz Users Protected from 'Big LEO' MSS

The FCC has released the Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Order on Reconsideration regarding ancillary terrestrial components (ATC) for Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) systems. The Orders include a discussion on protecting licensees on Broadcast Auxiliary Service 2 GHz channel A10. In the MSS Flexibility Report and Order, the FCC said its records indicated there were no BAS facilities licensed in the "Big LEO" (low Earth orbit) satellite band. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) pointed out that there are 87 licenses for BAS operations on channel A10 listed in ULS, although 10 were listed as "expired" or "cancelled." SBE asked the FCC to either prohibit ATC operations in the Big LEO band to protect BAS channel A10 operations or to require Big LEO MSS operators wanting to use ATC to pay the reasonable costs of converting BAS equipment to digital operation on three narrower channels inside existing BAS channel A8 and A9.

The FCC Orders addressed SBE's concerns, saying it "will take measures to protect licensees on BAS Channel A10. The number of active BAS Channel A10 users is sufficiently small that Big LEO MSS licensees desiring ATC authorization will be able to coordinate with BAS licensees to avoid causing harmful interference to BAS Channel A10. Therefore, we note that BAS licensees using BAS Channel A10 are 'grandfathered' and are entitled to operate without interference from MSS/ATC operations. Big LEO band MSS operators seeking to add ATC to their systems will be required to coordinate their use of the 2483.5-2500 MHz band with BAS licensees, or may negotiate with those licensees for relocation or some other solution to potential interference problems." The FCC, however, declined to mandate a relocation scheme for BAS channels A9, A9, and A10, even though Globalstar indicated a willingness to consider that under certain limited conditions.

For details on the technical specifications for the ATC systems, refer to the Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Order on Reconsideration. I had a summary of the Orders based on an FCC News Release in the Feb. 15, 2005 RF Report. Also see the SBE Petition for Reconsideration of the IB Docket 02-364 Report and Order.