Satellite Update

Sirius Satellite Radio has requested special temporary authority to operate four satellite digital audio radio service terrestrial repeaters in Alaska and Hawaii with power levels below 2,000 watts. Sirius said that a grant of its STA request is necessary to allow it to provide high quality commercial SDARS programming in these states and that the terrestrial repeaters will be used to overcome the effects of satellite signal blockage and multipath interference. In Report SAT-00419 released last Friday, the FCC designated the application "permit-but-disclose" for the purposes of the FCC's ex parte communications rules. Since the Sirius satellites are focused on the continental U.S. and do not have spot beams for Alaska and Hawaii, this application has already generated opposition from one broadcaster in Hawaii as well as the National Association of Broadcasters. For more information on the debate, use the "Quick Search" on the top left of the FCC IBFS Web page to search for file number SAT-STA-20061107-00131. The opposition and Sirius' reply are on the "attachments menu" link on the page you should see after clicking on the application number on the search results page. Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters argued that since Sirius did not provide satellite service in Hawaii, a grant of the STA would allow Sirius to initiate a terrestrial digital radio service in Hawaii. While some news reports indicated the FCC had granted STA for these repeaters, IBFS shows the STA as accepted for filing on Feb. 16 but not granted as of Feb. 22.

The FCC report also listed an application from Sirius for STA for 15 new SDARS terrestrial repeaters with power levels at or below 2 kW at the locations listed in the application file number SAT-STA-20061207-00145.

The FCC's Satellite Division granted STA to XM Radio Inc. for terrestrial repeaters with an effective isotropically radiated power (EIRP) of up to 0.5 W and 0.0001 W at the events outlined in XM Radio's request, with the technical parameters specified in the request, for a period of up to 180 days beginning on Feb. 9, 2007. Look up file number SAT-STA-20061211-00147 on IBFS for more information.