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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

Report No. GN 98-13 GENERAL ACTION November 19, 1998

(ET DOCKET 98-206)

The Commission has proposed allowing non-geostationary orbit ("NGSO") fixed satellite services ("FSS") to operate on a co-primary basis in the Ku-band. If the proposal is adopted, the NGSO satellite operations could provide global high-speed data services, thereby facilitating additional competition to other satellite, terrestrial wireless and wireline services. The Commission also has requested comment on a request to allow a terrestrial service to retransmit local television signals and provide data services to direct broadcast satellite ("DBS") subscribers.

The Commission today adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("Notice") that would permit NGSO satellite downlink operations in the 10.7-12.7 GHz band and NGSO satellite uplink operations in the 12.75-13.25 GHz and 13.8-14.5 GHz bands. Because the bands have many incumbent users in the United States, the Notice asks for comment on the appropriate spectrum sharing criteria between the proposed and incumbent services. The Commission did not propose to permit NGSO operations within the 13.75-13.8 GHz and 17.3-17.8 GHz bands due to interference concerns with incumbent operations.

The Commission took this action to implement domestically the allocation made at the 1997 World Radiocommunications Conference ("WRC-97") to permit NGSO operations in the Ku-band subject to certain spectrum sharing criteria. This proceeding also responds to a Petition for Rulemaking filed by Skybridge LLC requesting similar action.

The Notice also requested comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by Northpoint Technologies to permit the terrestrial retransmission of local television signals and the provision of data services to DBS service subscribers operating in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band. In its petition, Northpoint suggested that the terrestrial provision of local television signals and other data services to DBS subscribers would better enable DBS licensees to compete with cable television systems.

The frequency bands proposed for NGSO operations have considerable incumbent use in the United States by various services, including the broadcast satellite service, geostationary FSS, various government operations, and various terrestrial fixed operations. The Commission reiterated its intent to balance a commitment to the continued operation and protection of these incumbent services while ensuring that competition and innovation have the opportunity to develop. Therefore, the Notice proposed and asked for comment on the appropriate sharing criteria to be used to accommodate multiple NGSO systems, including the NGSO sharing criteria developed at WRC-97. Further, the Commission emphasized that new NGSO operations in the Ku-band should not be permitted to hinder the future evolution of incumbent services or their ability to implement new and innovative technologies.

Additionally, the Commission encouraged incumbent interests in these bands to participate in this proceeding in order to build a thorough and accurate record regarding NGSO spectrum sharing in the Ku-band. The Notice points out that WRC-97 provisionally adopted NGSO spectrum sharing criteria that will likely be implemented globally unless alternative proposals, with sufficient technical proof and justification, are received.

The Notice also asked for comment on proposals to license NGSO systems in the proposed frequency bands. A license application filed by SkyBridge and any competing NGSO applications that may be filed will be considered in a separate proceeding.

Action by the Commission November 19, 1998, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 98-310). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani with Commissioner Ness issuing a separate statement.

- FCC -

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