FCC Ponders DBS Satellite Spacing Issues

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Sep 8, 2003
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From our friends at SkyReport.com

The Federal Communications Commission is taking up the issue of spacing between DBS satellites and whether spacecraft can be placed together in closer orbital slots.

On Wednesday, the FCC's International Bureau said it would take comments on proposals to permit closer orbital spacing between DBS satellites. At the moment, U.S. DBS satellites are spaced nine degrees apart, in core locations at 101 degrees, 110 degrees and 119 degrees.

Two companies have asked the FCC to consider specific proposals to allow satellites to operate in closer orbital slots:

*SES Americom asked for a ruling to serve the U.S. market using BSS (broadcast satellite service) spectrum from the 105.5-degree orbital location. SES wants to use the location to deliver wholesale satellite TV services to the United States, and has a deal in place with EchoStar for utilization of the slot.

*EchoStar has applied for authority to construct, launch and operate DBS satellite assets in the 12.2-12.7 GHz (high-power Ku-Band frequency) and 17.3-17.8 GHz frequency bands at 123.5 degrees, 96.5 degrees and 86.5 degrees, the FCC said. The applications were filed in June, though they have not yet been accepted for filing at the FCC.

Also, DirecTV has a petition for a rulemaking on the feasibility of reduced orbital spacing, the FCC said.

In its request for comments, the FCC's International Bureau said reduced orbital spacing would increase capacity for DBS services, which could lead to expanded programming such as more local-into-local, additional high-definition TV and interactive service offerings.

"While we have reached no conclusions, tentative or otherwise, regarding DBS orbital locations with less than nine degree spacing, our commitment to encourage the intensive and efficient use of spectrum and to encourage competition and broadband deployment motivates us to inquire further into the possibility of implementing reduced orbital spacing for new and/or expanded services," the bureau said.
 

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