[ Text | WordPerfect | Chairman Kennard's Press Statement ]

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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

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).


FCC also adopts Third NPRM on proposals for additional
spectrum, relocation, and transition mechanisms
(ET DOCKET 95-18)

The FCC today affirmed its previous decision to make more spectrum available to Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) providers from the year 2000 forward. This spectrum will allow operation of domestic MSS systems and U.S. participation in global MSS systems.

The FCC also proposed to implement the mandate of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Budget Act) to reallocate spectrum in the 2 GHz band for auction. The proposed spectrum reallocations result in a reduction of the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) band that may require the replacement or retuning of existing analog electronic news gathering equipment. The spectrum reallocations may also require relocation of Fixed Service (FS) microwave licensees. The replacement or retuning of BAS equipment and the relocation of FS licensees would be conducted in accordance with the Commission's Emerging Technologies relocation policies.

Memorandum Opinion and Order

The Commission affirmed its 1997 decision to allocate 70 megahertz of spectrum at 1990-2025 MHz (uplink) and 2165-2200 MHz (downlink) to MSS, effective Jan. 1, 2000. Allocation of 70 megahertz comports closely with the international MSS allocation of the 1980-2025 MHz and 2160-2200 MHz bands.

In addition, the Commission affirmed its prior decision that the goals and principles underlying the relocation policies established in the Emerging Technologies proceeding apply to the reallocations involved in this 2 GHz proceeding.

Third Notice of Proposed Rule Making

In response to the directives of the Budget Act, the Commission proposed to allocate for assignment by competitive bidding the precise 40 megahertz specified by Congress (at 2110-2150 MHz, which is currently allocated for use by BAS and FS licensees). Although the Budget Act also directed the Commission to allocate an additional 15 megahertz for assignment by competitive bidding from the existing BAS band (at 2095-2110 MHz), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has exercised the President's option to suggest an alternative 15 megahertz.

The decision to affirm the MSS allocation and the proposal to implement the spectrum auction requirement of the Budget Act would result in a reduction of spectrum allocated for BAS, Cable Television Relay Service (CARS), and Local Television Transmission Service (LTTS) licensees from the original allocation of 120 megahertz to 85 megahertz at 2025-2110 MHz. BAS licensees, in particular, would be affected by this proposed reduction in available spectrum. The Commission therefore seeks comment on various transition mechanisms for the replacement or retuning of BAS equipment to facilitate expeditious access to the spectrum by MSS and on the appropriate apportionment of replacement or retuning costs among MSS licensees.

The MSS allocation and implementation of the Budget Act might also require relocation of FS licensees, if the incumbents and new entrants cannot share the spectrum. Most of the FS microwave links that might require relocation are paired, with one link operating in the 2165-2200 MHz MSS spectrum, and the other link operating in the 2110- 2150 MHz auction spectrum. The FCC proposed to allow either the new MSS licensee or the auction winning licensee to relocate each FS microwave link, and receive pro rata reimbursement from the licensee occupying the spectrum vacated by the other link.

Action by the Commission November 19, 1998, by Memorandum Opinion and Order, Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (FCC 98-309). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani.


News Media contact: Audrey Spivack at (202) 418-0500
Office of Engineering and Technology contact: Sean White at (202) 418-2453

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This Order highlights one of the most important core functions of this agency: managing the spectrum for the benefit of the American public. Our spectrum policies should promote competition, consumer choice, and spectrum efficiency. This Order achieves all of those goals. The Worldwide Mobile Satellite allocation, which we first advocated at the 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference, is critical to providing genuinely global service, expanding consumer choice around the world, and inaugurating third generation mobile communications technology. I am extremely proud of the role the FCC played in securing this allocation.

The domestic allocation process for this service has been challenging. We use these bands more intensively than any other country on Earth. Allowing Mobile Satellite Services to be provided at 2 GHz will require relocation of important existing services. Other bands that have been allocated for Mobile Satellite Services, such as the Big LEO band above 1 GHz, were not crowded. Therefore, in that case it was not necessary to require that the relocation costs of incumbent licensees be paid. I believe we have made a wise decision to adhere to our Emerging Technologies policies as they relate to the relocation of Fixed Service microwave licensees in the band, and to extend these policies to the relocation of licensees in the Broadcast Auxiliary Service. The BAS is essential for providing coverage of breaking news, sports events, and other special events to the American public, and many of the incumbent Fixed Service microwave licensees provide critical infrastructure and public safety services.

The adoption of this item brings us a step closer to genuinely universal mobile service. This will be a great benefit to American industry, which will produce and launch a large part of the infrastructure of the satellite-based mobile communications network, and to America's consumers, who will have more choice in securing these services. I would like to move this proceeding to a conclusion as quickly as possible.