FCC Extends C-Band Earth Station Filing Window

 

In a public notice, the International Bureau of the FCC announced a 90-day extension, to October 17, 2018, to the filing window for fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations currently operating in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band as announced in public notice DA 18-398 on April 19, 2018. The earlier notice announced a temporary freeze on new or modification applications, and established a 90-day filing window for existing entities to voluntarily register or license their FSS earth-station facilities. The FCC also waived the coordination report requirement for the duration of the freeze. That filing windows was due to expire on July 18, 2018.

Since the beginning of the freeze, many parties have submitted to the record their concerns about the volume of unregistered earth stations and the difficulties that many of these operators have faced in preparing the information for filing. These parties indicate that without some relief many operators will be unable to satisfy the filing deadline and the Commission will be without accurate information for its deliberations in the Mid-band Proceeding. To address these concerns, the International Bureau now extends the 90-day filing date for an additional 90 days, until October 17, 2018, in order to provide operators with more time to file applications, should they choose to do so. Only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018 are eligible for filing during this window.

The FCC also clarified that applications to register multiple FSS antennas operating in this band that are located at the same address or geographic location may be filed in the International Bureau Filing System (IBFS) by using a single registration form and paying a single fee (fee code CMO, currently $435). Finally, the FCC announced the availability of an additional option to facilitate the registration of large numbers of geographically diverse earth stations by filing an application for a single “network” license and paying a single fee in IBFS (fee code BGV, currently $10,620).

On May 22, SBE President Jim Leifer, CPBE, and SBE General Counsel Chris Imlay called on representatives from the FCC International Bureau and the Office of Engineering and Technology with specific requests to ease the registration burden to broadcasters. The SBE is pleased that the FCC implemented most of what the SBE requested.
 
The SBE’s requests were to extend the filing window, which it did, and to eliminate the filing fee. If the filing fee could not be waived, the SBE suggested a method of bulk filing for multiple stations or locations, which the FCC granted.

Read the FCC public notice