XM Radio Terrestrial Repeaters Operating Illegally

XM Radio faces more problems with the FCC. Previous editions of RF Report covered problems with FM adapters used with XM Radio and Sirius receivers, which were operating at power levels and on frequencies outside those allowed for these devices. Last week XM Radio notified the FCC that 221 of its terrestrial repeaters, which are used to provide coverage in areas where satellite reception may be difficult, were operating at power levels above those authorized. It also said that it has 19 repeaters at sites not yet authorized by the FCC. Some of the repeaters were also operating on unauthorized frequencies.

Representatives from the WCS Coalition met with the FCC to discuss the implications of XM Radio's admission it has been operating terrestrial repeaters unlawfully. On Tuesday, WCS sent a letter to the FCC commenting on XM Radio's request for a 30-day STA to operate repeaters that remain non-compliant. According to the WCS Coalition letter, "The WCS Coalition is presently examining the extent of XM's non-compliance with its existing STAs and the implications of that non-compliance for licensees in the Wireless Communications Service (WCS). That investigation may not be complete before the Bureau acts on XM's pending 30-day STA request."

The Coalition said that it intends to comment when XM submits its request for a 180-day STA and when the Commission provides a formal opportunity for public comment.

The WCS Coalition letter also said, "To avoid any doubt, the WCS Coalition must stress that the lack of any formal petition to deny the pending 30-day STA request should not be interpreted as acquiescence by the WCS Coalition to XM's activities, to the arguments advanced by XM in support of its STA request, or to grant of any additional DARS terrestrial repeater STAs by the Commission."

The Washington Post article "XM Radio Hits Some More Interference" quotes Wireless Communications Association International attorney Paul Sinderbrand saying, "XM certainly seems to have a corporate inability to comply with the FCC's rules. This is all rather astonishing, especially given XM's past compliance issues."