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FCC Satellite Division Settles Spectrum Five and Dish Issues at 119 degrees WL

Spectrum Five LLC had opposed Dish Operating LLC's request to modify Dish's license for EchoStar 7 to specify operations at 118.8 degrees west longitude (WL) instead of 118.9 degrees WL. Spectrum Five requested a declaratory ruling allowing it to serve the U.S. market with a proposed Broadcast Satellite Service (BSS) space station at 119.25 degrees WL, very close to EchoStar 7.

Last week the FCC International Bureau's Satellite Division issued a Declaratory Ruling (DA 12-1671) allowing Spectrum Five U.S. market access from 119.25 degrees WL using 17.3-17.7 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 24.75-25.25 GHz (Earth-to-space).

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order (DA 12-1670) released the same day, the FCC granted Dish Operating LLC's request to use 118.8 degrees WL for EchoStar 7 and denied, in part, and dismissed, in part, as moot, Petitions to Dismiss or Deny the applications filed by Spectrum Five. The Satellite Division found “allowing DISH to operate the EchoStar 7 Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service space station at the 118.8 degrees W.L. orbital location will not cause impermissible interference to other radiocommunication systems, and will serve the public interest.” DBS satellites use 12.2-12.7 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 17.3-17.8 GHz (Earth-to-space).Note that Spectrum Five is now allowed to serve the U.S. using 17.3-17.7 GHz (space-to-Earth) from a location less than half a degree away.

The Memorandum Opinion and Order says, “Spectrum Five indicated that DISH’s application consequently did not adequately consider potential negative impacts to Spectrum Five (1) due to physical co-location of EchoStar 7 with Spectrum Five’s proposed 17/24 GHz BSS satellite at the 118.8° W.L. orbital location,8 and (2) due to increased interference to Spectrum Five’s proposed BSS satellites at the 114.5° W.L. orbital location.”

In granting Dish's application, the FCC considered Dish's orbital debris mitigation plan. Operation of EchoStar 7 at 118.8 degrees WL requires modification of the Appendix 30 Region 2 Broadcasting Satellite Service Plan and associated Appendix 30A Region 2 feeder-link plan. DishOperating LLC will be held responsible for all cost recovery fees associated with these ITU filings.The FCC cautions, “No protection from interference caused by radio stations authorized by other Administrations is guaranteed until the agreement of all affected Administrations is obtained and the frequency assignment becomes a part of the appropriate Region 2 BSS and feeder-link Plans. If coordination has not been completed and/or for which the necessary agreements under Appendices 30 and 30A have not been obtained, this license may be subject to additional terms and conditions as required to effect coordination or obtain the agreement of other Administrations.”

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.