[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 28 (Monday, February 11, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9602-9604]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03020]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 25

[IB Docket No. 07-101; FCC 13-1]


Amendment of the Commission's Rules To Allocate Spectrum and 
Adopt Service Rules and Procedures To Govern the Use of Vehicle-Mounted 
Earth Stations in Certain Frequency Bands Allocated to the Fixed-
Satellite Service

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) modifies its rules for Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations 
(VMES) in order to promote greater flexibility for VMES operators, 
which, in turn, should enable the VMES industry to create more 
spectrally-efficient broadband solutions in the Ku-band without causing 
harmful interference to Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) providers and 
without exposing the general public to harmful radiofrequency 
radiation.

DATES: Effective March 13, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Balatan or Howard Griboff, 
Policy Division, International Bureau, (202) 418-1460.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Order 
on Reconsideration, adopted on January 4, 2013, and released on January 
8, 2013 (FCC 13-1). The full text of this document is available for 
inspection and copying during normal business hours in the Commission 
Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The 
document is also available for download over the Internet at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-13-1A1.doc. The 
complete text may also be purchased from the Commission's copy

[[Page 9603]]

contractor, Best Copy and Printing, in person at 445 12th Street SW., 
Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, via telephone at (202) 488-5300, 
via facsimile at (202) 488-5563, or via email at 
Commission@bcpiweb.com.

Summary of the Order on Reconsideration

    On June 30, 2009, the Commission adopted the VMES Report and Order 
in IB Docket No. 07-101 (VMES Order) (74 FR 57092-01, November 4, 2009, 
as amended at 75 FR 1285-01, January 11, 2010), establishing licensing 
and service rules for VMES operating in the 14.0-14.5 GHz/11.7-12.2 GHz 
(Ku-band) frequencies. In this Order on Reconsideration 
(Reconsideration Order), the Commission addresses three issues raised 
by the Petitioners with respect the VMES rules that the Commission 
adopted in the VMES Order to protect Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) 
providers from harmful interference and to protect the general public 
from exposure to harmful radiofrequency radiation. First, the 
Reconsideration Order eases the technical requirements for a certain 
type of VMES system--a variable power-density VMES system--including 
modifying the off-axis effective isotropically radiated power (EIRP)-
density provisions in section 25.226(a)(3) to enable these systems to 
operate their terminals more efficiently and effectively. Specifically, 
the Reconsideration Order grants the Petitioners' requests to give 
variable power-density VMES systems ALSAT authority. The 
Reconsideration Order also permits variable power-density VMES systems 
to operate terminals with varying levels of power-densities by defining 
N equal to 1 for these systems in the off-axis EIRP-density limits. The 
Reconsideration Order declines the Petitioners' proposals to eliminate 
the requirement for variable power-density VMES systems to maintain 
power-density 1 dB below the off-axis EIRP-density limits. Rather than 
eliminate the 1 dB requirement, the Reconsideration Order concludes 
that VMES applicants should request a waiver of the 1 dB requirement in 
order to allow those systems to improve spectral efficiency without 
compromising the FSS' protection. VMES applicants that seek a waiver of 
the 1 dB requirement must file a report regarding their system 
operations along with their waiver request. The Reconsideration Order 
also requires variable power-density VMES to cease or reduce 
transmissions if those VMES exceed the power-density limits for 
variable power-density systems. Second, the Reconsideration Order 
declines ViaSat's request to clarify the antenna pointing error 
provisions in the VMES rules. Third, the Reconsideration Order adopts 
ViaSat's proposal, in part, to relax the cessation of emission 
requirement in section 25.226(a)(9), a rule that is designed to 
minimize human exposure to radiofrequency radiation. The revisions 
should promote operational flexibility and spectral efficiency in the 
Ku-band. At the same time, these revisions should continue to ensure 
that the VMES operators protect the FSS operators from harmful 
interference and protect the general public from harmful exposure to 
radiofrequency radiation.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification--Reconsideration Order

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), requires 
that a regulatory flexibility analysis be prepared for notice-and-
comment rule making proceedings, unless the agency certifies that ``the 
rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.'' The RFA generally defines the 
term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms ``small 
business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental 
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' has the same 
meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the Small Business 
Act. A ``small business concern'' is one which: (1) Is independently 
owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and 
(3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the U.S. Small 
Business Administration (SBA). In light of the rules adopted in the 
VMES Order, we find that there are only two categories of licensees 
that would be affected by the new rules. These categories of licensees 
are Satellite Telecommunications and Fixed-Satellite Transmit/Receive 
Earth Stations. The SBA has determined that the small business size 
standard for Satellite Telecommunications is a business that has $15 
million or less in average annual receipts. Commission records reveal 
that there are 20 space station licensees and operators in the Ku-band. 
We do not request or collect annual revenue information concerning such 
licensees and operators, and thus are unable to estimate the number of 
geostationary space station licensees and operators that would 
constitute a small business under the SBA definition cited above, or 
apply any rules providing special consideration for geostationary space 
station licensees and operators that are small businesses. Currently 
there are approximately 2,879 operational fixed-satellite transmit/
received earth stations authorized for use in the Ku-band. The 
Commission does not request or collect annual revenue information, and 
thus is unable to estimate the number of earth stations that would 
constitute a small business under the SBA definition. Of the two 
classifications of licensees, we estimate that only 10 entities will 
provide VMES service. For the reasons described below, we certify that 
the policies and rules adopted in this Reconsideration Order will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    In the VMES Order, the Commission adopted domestic U.S. allocation, 
service and licensing rules (VMES rules) that allow VMES to operate in 
the conventional and extended Ku-band frequencies while adhering to the 
Commission's two-degree satellite spacing interference avoidance 
requirements of the Ku-band FSS. The ``conventional'' Ku-band refers to 
frequencies in the 11.7-12.2 GHz (downlink) and 14.0-14.5 GHz (uplink) 
bands and the covered ``extended Ku-band'' includes the 10.95-11.2 GHz 
and 11.45-11.7 GHz (downlink) bands. The VMES rules enable the VMES to 
operate as a primary application of the FSS in the conventional bands. 
In the extended band frequencies, VMES may be authorized to communicate 
with geostationary satellite orbit FSS space stations but must accept 
interference from stations of the Fixed Service (FS) operating in 
accordance with the Commission's rules. The VMES rules promote spectrum 
sharing with certain secondary incumbent services in the uplink bands, 
including government space research service and radio astronomy 
service.
    The Commission does not expect small entities to incur significant 
costs associated with the changes adopted in this Reconsideration 
Order. The changes will benefit both large and small entities by 
allowing greater operational flexibility in providing VMES service. We 
believe these requirements are nominal and do not impose a significant 
economic impact on small entities. Therefore, we certify that the 
requirements adopted in this Reconsideration Order will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis--Reconsideration Order

    This Reconsideration Order does not contain new or modified 
information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition,

[[Page 9604]]

therefore, it does not contain any new or modified information 
collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 
employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, 
Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4). The Commission will send 
a copy of this Reconsideration Order to Congress and the Government 
Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 
U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

Ordering Clauses

    It is ordered that, pursuant to Sections 4(i), 7, 302, 303(c), 
303(e), 303(f) and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as 
amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 157, 302, 303(c), 303(e), 303(f) and 303(r), 
this Order on Reconsideration is adopted. Part 25 of the Commission's 
Rules is amended March 13, 2013.
    It is further ordered that the Petition for Reconsideration filed 
by The Boeing Company is granted in part to the extent described above 
and is denied in all other respects.
    It is further ordered that the Petition for Reconsideration filed 
by ViaSat, Inc. is granted in part to the extent described above and is 
denied in all other respects.
    It is further ordered that the Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Certification, as required by Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act, is adopted.
    It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of this Order on Reconsideration including the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Certification, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the 
Small Business Administration.
    The Commission will send a copy of this Order on Reconsideration in 
a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability 
Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 
801(a)(1)(A).

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 25

    Satellites.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene Dortch,
Secretary.

Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed above, the Federal Communications 
Commission amends 47 CFR part 25 as follows:

PART 25--SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 701-744. Interprets or applies Sections 4, 
301, 302, 303, 307, 309 and 332 of the Communications Act, as 
amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 154, 301, 302, 303, 307, 309, 332, 
unless otherwise noted.


0
2. Amend Section 25.226 as follows:
0
a. Revise the introductory text of paragraphs (a)(1)(ii) and (iii);
0
b. Revise paragraph (a)(3)(i);
0
c. Remove paragraph (a)(3)(iii);
0
d. Revise paragraph (a)(9);
0
e. Revise paragraph (b)(3)(i);
0
f. Remove paragraph (b)(3)(iii);
0
g. Revise the last sentence of paragraph (b)(8); and
0
h. Add paragraph (b)(9).
    The revisions and addition read as follows:


Sec.  25.226  Blanket Licensing provisions for domestic, U.S. Vehicle-
Mounted Earth Stations (VMESs) receiving in the 10.95-11.2 GHz (space-
to-Earth), 11.45-11.7 GHz (space-to-Earth), and 11.7-12.2 GHz (space-
to-Earth) frequency bands and transmitting in the 14.0-14.5 GHz (Earth-
to-space) frequency band, operating with Geostationary Satellites in 
the Fixed-Satellite Service

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) Except for VMES systems operating under paragraph (a)(3), each 
VMES transmitter must meet one of the following antenna pointing error 
requirements:
* * * * *
    (iii) Except for VMES systems operating under paragraph (a)(3), 
each VMES transmitter must meet of one the following cessation of 
emission requirements:
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) The effective aggregate EIRP-density from all terminals shall 
be at least 1 dB below the off-axis EIRP-density limits defined in 
paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, with the value of N=1. In this 
context the term ``effective'' means that the resultant co-polarized 
and cross-polarized EIRP-density experienced by any GSO or non-GSO 
satellite shall not exceed that produced by a single transmitter 
operating 1 dB below the limits defined in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this 
section. The individual VMES transmitter shall automatically cease 
emissions within 100 milliseconds if the VMES transmitter exceeds the 
off-axis EIRP-density limits minus 1 dB specified above. If one or more 
VMES transmitters causes the aggregate off-axis EIRP-densities to 
exceed the off-axis EIRP-density limits minus 1 dB specified above, 
then the transmitter or transmitters shall cease or reduce emissions 
within 100 milliseconds of receiving a command from the system's 
network control and monitoring center. A VMES system operating under 
this subsection shall provide a detailed demonstration as described in 
paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section.
* * * * *
    (9) Each VMES terminal shall automatically cease transmitting upon 
the loss of synchronization or within 5 seconds upon loss of reception 
of the satellite downlink signal, whichever is the shorter timeframe.
    (b) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) The applicant shall make a detailed showing of the measures it 
intends to employ to maintain the effective aggregate EIRP-density from 
all simultaneously transmitting co-frequency terminals operating with 
the same satellite transponder at least 1 dB below the off-axis EIRP-
density limits defined in paragraphs (a)(1)(i)(A) through (C) of this 
section. In this context the term ``effective'' means that the 
resultant co-polarized and cross-polarized EIRP-density experienced by 
any GSO or non-GSO satellite shall not exceed that produced by a single 
VMES transmitter operating at 1 dB below the limits defined in 
paragraphs (a)(1)(i)(A) through (C) of this section. The applicant also 
must demonstrate that an individual transmitter and the entire VMES 
system is capable of automatically ceasing emissions within 100 
milliseconds if the aggregate off-axis EIRP-densities exceed the off-
axis EIRP-density limits minus 1 dB, as set forth in paragraph 
(a)(3)(i) of this section. The International Bureau will place this 
showing on public notice along with the application.
* * * * *
    (8) * * *. All VMES applicants shall demonstrate that their VMES 
terminals are capable of automatically ceasing transmissions upon the 
loss of synchronization or within 5 seconds upon loss of reception of 
the satellite downlink signal, whichever is the shorter timeframe.
    (9) Except for VMES systems operating pursuant to paragraphs (a)(2) 
and (a)(3)(ii) of this section, VMES systems authorized pursuant to 
this section shall be eligible for a license that lists ALSAT as an 
authorized point of communication.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-03020 Filed 2-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P