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FCC Updates DBS Service Rules

WASHINGTON—The FCC has issued a Report and Order aimed at modernizing the procedures and rules pertaining to the direct broadcast satellite service that is used for satellite TV delivery. This is the first time that the DBS licensing provisions have been updated in more than a decade.

The DBS service provides TV programming directly to consumers via satellites operating in geostationary orbit using the 12.2-12.7 GHz and 17.3-17.8 GHz frequency bands.

With the updated rules, the FCC says that DBS processing procedures will now be more in line with the streamlined processing procedures used for geostationary orbit fixed-satellite service satellites. The commission also believes that it will lead to increased use of spectrum and orbital resources, while also protecting existing consumers of satellite TV from interference to their service.

The Report and Order adopts a process for considering new DBS service applications on a “first come, first served” basis. It also applies the milestone and bond requirements for geostationary orbit fixed-satellite service to DBS services, extends the license term of non-broadcast DBS space stations from 10 to 15 years and ends the “freeze” on applications for DBS licenses.

Chairman Pai and all four FCC commissioners approved the Report and Order on Thursday, Sept. 26.