Skip to main content

Satellite Users Oppose FCC Proposal to Allow Terrestrial Services on Ku-Band

Many satellite operators and users filed comments last week in response to a petition filed by the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) requesting the FCC amend the frequency tables to permit shared, secondary terrestrial fixed use of the 14.0-14.5 GHz band by fixed point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and temporary fixed stations. This spectrum is currently allocated for Ku-band satellite uplinks.

Opposition comments from Global Satellite VSAT Forum and the European Satellite Operators Association said UTC’s request is “ill-conceived, technically flawed, and glaringly unjustified.”

Mexican satellite service provider Satelites Mexicanos S.A. DE C.V. (SATMEX) commented, “The UTC fails to show compellingly that … incumbent operations in the band will not be harmfully interfered with. It provides a flawed analysis suggesting that millions of terminals can be operated without a problem. However, analysis conducted within the satellite industry indicates that such use will cause unacceptable levels of interference into GSO FSS operations. Furthermore such use will expose the UTC terminals to interference that will be incompatible with the critical nature of the services that are intended in the proposed new secondary terrestrial allocation.”

SES Americom notes, “As one of the few bands with a sole primary allocation for FSS [Fixed Satellite Service], the 14-14.5 GHz spectrum is available for Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) remote antennas, which are subject to blanket licensing, rather than site-specific authorization. The band is also used for Satellite News Gathering (SNG), a service that is essential to allow media outlets to cover breaking news stories. Furthermore, there is growing use of the band for mobile services that fulfill key public safety and national security needs, including earth stations on vessels (ESVs), aeronautical services, and vehicle-mounted earth stations (VMESs) for public and government use.”

Broadcasters utilizing SNG operations should pay close attention to this proceeding. For a list of all the comments for and against the petition, use the FCC Search for Filed Comments Web page and search for proceeding RM-11429.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.