The FCC late last week announced that it has given a 90-day extension of the filing window for C Band receive only earth stations to Oct. 17, 2018.
Previously, the Commission had opened a filing window until July 18 to file applications for fixed-satellite (FSS) earth stations in the C Band by entities that own or operate existing FSS earth stations if the earth station is not currently registered or licensed.
As Fletcher Heald and Hildreth attorney Michelle McClure notes, the FCC had imposed a temporary filing freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for fixed-satellite (FSS) earth station licenses, receive only earth station registrations, and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band, known as the C Band. “The freeze was imposed to preserve the current landscape of authorized operations in the C Band, while the Commission considered whether to permit terrestrial broadband use and more extensive fixed use of the C Band,” she notes.
Since the beginning of the freeze, many parties have submitted to the FCC their concerns about the volume of unregistered earth stations and the difficulties many operators have experienced in preparing the information required for the filing. Accordingly, the Commission extended the filing window.
However, McClure says, there is still a cut-off date — only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018 are eligible for filing during this window.
The Commission has also tried to address some of the concerns raised about the financial burden relating to registration of operators with multiple dishes. The Commission offers two options to try to address this issue, she says.
“The first option is for operators with multiple receive only dishes at a single geographic location to apply to register the antennas under a single earth station application. This will only require a single FCC application fee of $435.
“The second option is that the Commission will also waive certain sections of the Commission’s rules to allow operators of multiple geographically diverse receive-only earth stations to register those stations under Section 25.115(c)(2), which permits applications for Networks of earth station operating in the 3700-4200 MHz and 5925-6425 MHz bands.”
The Commission is waiving those sections of the rule which does not relate to receive only stations.
As such, the Commission will accept for filing applications under Section 25.115(c)(2) for networks of receive-only earth stations and waive those requirements that are inapplicable to receive only stations. However, the FCC application fee for such applications are currently $10,620.
“An operator would need to have 25 or more dishes to register before the filing fee for the network to benefit from this particular type of filing application, as opposed to the application fee for a single dish,” McClure says.
If you have any questions regarding the filing window or C Band receive only earth stations, please contact your FCC attorney.