[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 161 (Thursday, August 20, 1998)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 44597-44599]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-22353]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 63, No. 161 / Thursday, August 20, 1998 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 44597]]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 2, 25, and 97

[ET Docket No. 98-142, FCC 98-177]


Mobile-Satellite Service Above 1 GHz

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: By this action, we propose to amend the Commission's Rules by 
allocating the 5091-5250 MHz and 15.43-15.63 GHz bands to the fixed-
satellite service (``FSS'') on a co-primary basis for Earth-to-space 
(``uplink'') transmissions and by allocating the 6700-7075 MHz and 
15.43-15.63 GHz bands on a co-primary basis for space-to-Earth 
(``downlink'') transmissions. We also propose to add these frequency 
bands to the list of frequencies available for use by the Satellite 
Communications Service. We further propose to limit the use of these 
new FSS allocations to feeder links that would be used in conjunction 
with the service links of non-geostationary satellite orbit mobile-
satellite service (``NGSO MSS'') systems. The adoption of these 
proposals would provide spectrum for feeder links to support the 
current and immediate requirements of NGSO MSS systems.

DATES: Comments are due September 21, 1998, reply comments are due 
October 5, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 1919 M Street, NW, 
Washington, DC 20554.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Mooring, Office of Engineering and 
Technology, (202) 418-2450.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of Proposed Rule Making, ET Docket No. 98-142, FCC 98-177, adopted July 
28, 1998, and released August 4, 1998. The full text of this Commission 
decision is available for inspection and copying during normal business 
hours in the FCC Reference Center (Room 239), 1919 M Street, NW, 
Washington, DC, and also may be purchased from the Commission's 
duplication contractor, International Transcription Service, (202) 857-
3800, 1231 20th Street, NW Washington, DC 20036.

Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making

    1. Introduction. By this action, we propose to amend part 2 of the 
Commission's rules by allocating the 5091-5250 MHz and 15.43-15.63 GHz 
bands to the FSS on a co-primary basis for uplink transmissions and by 
allocating the 6700-7075 MHz and 15.43-15.63 GHz bands on a co-primary 
basis for downlink transmissions. We also propose to amend part 25 in 
order to add these frequency bands to the list of frequencies available 
for use by the Satellite Communications Service. We further propose to 
limit the use of these new FSS allocations to feeder links that would 
be used in conjunction with the service links of NGSO MSS systems. The 
adoption of these proposals would provide spectrum for feeder links to 
support the current and immediate requirements of NGSO MSS systems. In 
order to implement these feeder-link allocations, we propose, 
consistent with the international allocations and footnotes, to 
maintain the international standard system's right of precedence over 
all other uses in the 5000-5150 MHz band and to remove that right in 
the 5150-5250 MHz band, to delete the aeronautical mobile-satellite (R) 
service allocations in the 5150-5250 MHz and 15.4-15.7 GHz bands, and 
to delete the FSS and inter-satellite feederlink allocations for the 
aeronautical radionavigation and/or aeronautical mobile (R) services in 
the 5000-5250 MHz and 15.4-15.7 GHz bands.
    2. In addition, we propose to implement the clarification 
concerning the maximum power flux density (``PFD'') for Big LEO service 
uplinks at 1610-1626.5 MHz that was adopted at the 1995 World 
Radiocommunication Conference (``WRC-95'') and the more lenient 
coordination threshold standard for Big LEO service downlinks at 
2483.5-2500 MHz that was adopted at the 1997 World Radiocommunication 
Conference (``WRC-97''). The proposals we make in this instant 
proceeding are consistent with international allocations for these 
frequency bands and will provide incumbent operations in these bands 
with adequate protection from harmful interference.
    3. NGSO MSS Feeder Links in the 5000-5250 MHz Band. We propose to 
allocate the 5150-5250 MHz band to the non-Government fixed-satellite 
(Earth-to-space) service on a primary basis; to adopt international 
footnotes S5.367 (previously 733), S5.444 (796), S5.444A, S5.447A, and 
S5.447C domestically; to delete reference to footnote 797 from the 
United States Table of Frequency Allocations; and to add the 5091-5250 
MHz band to the list of frequency bands available in the Satellite 
Communications Service. The adoption of this proposal would provide Big 
LEO and other commercial systems with 159 megahertz of contiguous NGSO 
MSS feeder uplink spectrum from 5091 MHz to 5250 MHz. However, we 
caution Globalstar and any other prospective user of the 5091-5250 MHz 
band that Working Group 4A is still developing the sharing criteria 
between aeronautical radionavigation service and FSS uplinks for this 
band; that prior to January 1, 2010, the requirements of existing and 
planned international standard systems (e.g., microwave landing 
systems) which cannot be met in the 5000-5091 MHz band will take 
precedence over other uses of the 5091-5150 MHz band; and, that after 
January 1, 2010, FSS uplinks will operate on a secondary basis to the 
aeronautical radionavigation service in the 5091-5150 MHz band. In 
addition, we seek comment on footnote S5.447B, which provides for 
``reverse band working'' in the 5150-5216 MHz band.
    4. Finally, we observe that the National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration (``NTIA'') has previously adopted footnote 
G126, which states that Differential-Global-Positioning-System 
(``DGPS'') stations may be authorized on a primary basis in the 5000-
5150 MHz bands for the specific purpose of transmitting DGPS 
information intended for aircraft navigation. We propose to add 
footnote G126 to the Government column of the 5000-5150 MHz band.
    5. NGSO MSS Feeder Downlinks in the 6700-7075 MHz Band. We observe 
that the 1995 Conference Preparatory Meeting Report indicated that 
studies have shown that bi-directional spectrum sharing between 
geostationary fixed-satellite service and non-geostationary mobile-
satellite service feeder link

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networks is technically feasible given careful site selection and 
antenna sizing, and depending on the number of gateway earth stations. 
At WRC-95, we proposed the 6700-7025 MHz band as a ``reverse band'' 
candidate. We made this proposal because the numerous restrictions on 
the GSO FSS uplink allotment plan for the 6725-7025 MHz band have 
resulted in only light use of this band throughout the world, including 
the United States. Therefore, we believe that the 6700-7075 MHz band 
could be used for feeder downlinks by up to four NGSO MSS systems using 
currently available technology, with two of the systems ``cross 
polarized'' from the other two. Accordingly, we propose to allocate the 
6700-7075 MHz band to the non-Government fixed-satellite (space-to-
Earth) service on a co-primary basis; to adopt international footnotes 
S5.440 (previously 791), S5.441 (792A), S5.458 (809), S5.458A, and 
S5.458B domestically; to add a cross reference to the rules for the 
Satellite Communications Service with respect to the 6875-7075 MHz 
band; and to add the 6700-7075 MHz band (space-to-Earth) to the list of 
FSS frequency bands available in the Satellite Communications Service. 
In addition, we propose to adopt footnote S5.149 which states, inter 
alia, that in making assignments to stations of other services, 
administrations are urged to take all practicable steps to protect 
radio astronomy use of the 6650-6675.2 MHz band from harmful 
interference. Finally, we propose to replace the Domestic Public Fixed 
Service (part 21) and Private Operational-Fixed Microwave Service (part 
94) cross references with one for the Fixed Microwave Services (part 
101); to delete the erroneous cross reference to the Domestic Public 
Fixed Service (part 21) for the 6875-7075 MHz band in the Table of 
Frequency Allocations; and to add an existing part 2 requirement to the 
rules for the Amateur Radio Service. We request comment on all of the 
proposals. In particular, comment is sought on the PFD limits in No. 
S9.11A (previously known as Resolution 46). It is our belief that the 
proposed PFD limits will afford terrestrial fixed and broadcast 
auxiliary users of the band with adequate protection. We assume that 
each satellite system will require only a few gateways, approximately 
six in number. We solicit comment on this assumption, on how many 
gateways overall are likely to use this band, whether technological 
advances are likely to significantly increase the number of gateways, 
and where these gateways are likely to be geographically located, 
especially whether they will likely be located in rural areas, or in 
urban areas. In general, we request comment on the likely impact of 
sharing the spectrum with Big LEO feeder links upon the terrestrial 
users.
    6. NGSO MSS Feeder Links in the 15.4-15.7 GHz Band. In preparation 
for WRC-97, the Commission, the WRC-97 Advisory Committee, and NTIA 
assisted the ITU in the development of the necessary technical 
constraints that would allow FSS uplinks and downlinks to co-exist with 
incumbent services in the 15.4-15.7 GHz band. WRC-97 adopted the United 
States proposals for the 15.4-15.7 GHz band. We now propose to 
implement these WRC-97 changes domestically. Specifically, we propose 
to allocate the 15.43-15.63 GHz band to the fixed-satellite service for 
both uplink and downlink transmissions and to adopt international 
footnotes S5.511A and S5.511C domestically. We also propose to delete 
reference to footnotes 733 and 797 from the 15.4-15.7 GHz band entry in 
the Table of Frequency Allocations, to add a cross reference to the 
rules for the Satellite Communications Service into the 15.43-15.63 GHz 
band entry, and to add both the FSS uplink and downlink allocations to 
the list of frequency bands available in the Satellite Communications 
Service. We request comment on these proposals.
    7. Big LEO Service Link Coordination. During our preparation for 
WRC-95, we stated that technical constraints that could hinder 
implementation of the Big LEO service had been identified in that 
proceeding and in the ITU-R process. Accordingly, we proposed that WRC-
95 remove several of these constraints from the Big LEO service link 
spectrum. WRC-95 generally adopted our proposals, and we are now 
proposing to implement domestically these WRC-95 changes.
    8. Big LEO systems are authorized to use the 1610-1626.5 MHz band 
for their service uplinks. In our WRC-95 preparation, we proposed to 
modify footnote 731E by specifying a ``peak'' power density limit in 
those parts of the 1610-1626.5 MHz band which are used by systems 
operating in accordance with footnote 732, and by specifying a ``mean'' 
power density in the part of the band where no such systems are 
operating. We also stated that interference protection under RR No. 953 
should be sufficient and accordingly proposed to delete the language 
specifying additional protection of non-MSS services in the 1610-1626.5 
MHz band.
    9. WRC-95 adopted our proposal for RR 731E (re-numbered as S5.364), 
except that the additional protection of non-MSS services was not 
deleted. In addition, international footnotes 722, 731F, 732, 733, 
733A, 733E, and 734, which have previously been adopted domestically, 
were re-numbered as S5.341, S5.365, S5.366, S5.367, S5.368, S5.372, and 
S5.149, respectively. Accordingly, we propose to update the United 
States table by adopting these international footnotes domestically. We 
request comment on this proposal. Finally, we observe that a recent 
revision to footnote US319 was inadvertently not published in the Code 
of Federal Regulations and that footnote S5.368 (previously 733A) was 
inadvertently not added to the 1613.8-1626.5 MHz band. We therefore 
take this opportunity to correct these oversights.
    10. Big LEO systems are authorized to use the 2483.5-2500 MHz band 
for their service downlinks. In our preparation for WRC-95, we 
expressed concern that footnote 753F references PFD limits in RR No. 
2566 that may be too stringent and could result in unnecessary 
coordination. We also proposed to add cautionary language in footnote 
753F to protect radio astronomy in the 4990-5000 MHz band and declined 
to propose to suppress footnote 733E.
    11. Footnote 753F states that coordination, in this band, of space 
stations of the mobile-satellite and radiodetermination-satellite 
services with terrestrial services is required only if the PFD produced 
by a space station at the Earth's surface exceeds the limits in Radio 
Regulation No. 2566. WRC-95 re-numbered footnote 753F as S5.402 and 
modified it to provide a more lenient coordination threshold standard 
than the current requirement and this new coordination threshold 
standard is incorporated in Resolution 46/No. S9.11A. WRC-97 further 
revised the interim procedures in Resolution 46. We also note that the 
procedures for the coordination and notification of frequency 
assignments of satellite networks established under No. S9.11A are only 
interim in nature. In particular, we observe that the coordination 
threshold factors applicable to terrestrial services other than fixed 
services may be reviewed at a future conference. Nonetheless, we 
believe that the new coordination threshold will adequately protect 
incumbent terrestrial services, while significantly increasing the 
usefulness of the 2483.5-2500 MHz band for Big LEO service downlinks. 
In addition, international footnotes 752 and 753A, which have 
previously been adopted domestically, were re-

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numbered as S5.150 and S5.398, respectively. Accordingly, we propose to 
update the United States table by adopting these international 
footnotes domestically. We invite comments on these proposals. Finally, 
we observe that a recent revision to footnote NG147 was inadvertently 
not published in the Code of Federal Regulations, and we therefore take 
this opportunity to correct this oversight.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Certification

    12. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (``RFA'') 1 requires 
that a regulatory flexibility analysis be prepared for notice and 
comment rulemaking 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 
``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the term ``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 Small Business 
Administration (SBA).
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    \1\ The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601 et. seq., has been amended by the 
Contract with American Advancement Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-121, 110 
Stat. 847 (1996) (CWAAA). Title II of the CWAAA is the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA).
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    13. This Notice of Proposed Rule Making (``Notice'') proposes to 
allocate the 5091-5250 MHz and 15.43-15.63 GHz bands to the fixed-
satellite (Earth-to-space) service on a primary basis, to allocate the 
6700-7075 MHz and 15.43-15.63 GHz bands on a primary basis to the 
fixed-satellite (space-to-Earth) service, and to limit the use of these 
FSS allocations to feeder links that would be used in conjunction with 
the service links of NGSO MSS systems. We take this action on our own 
initiative in order to adopt domestically the NGSO MSS feeder link 
allocations adopted at WRC-95. The adoption of this proposal would 
accommodate the growing demand for Big LEO services and would provide 
satellite operators with increased flexibility in the design of their 
systems.
    14. The Commission has not developed a definition of small entities 
specifically applicable to the satellite services licensees here at 
issue. Therefore, the applicable definition of small entity in the 
satellite services industry is the definition under the Small Business 
Administration (``SBA'') rules applicable to Communications Services 
``Not Elsewhere Classified.'' 2 This definition provides 
that a small entity is expressed as one with $11.0 million or less in 
annual receipts. According to Census Bureau data, there are 848 firms 
that fall under the category of Communications Services, Not Elsewhere 
Classified. Of those, approximately 775 reported annual receipts of $11 
million or less and qualify as small entities.3 The Census 
Bureau category is very broad and commercial satellite services 
constitute only a subset of its total.
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    \2\ 13 CFR 121.201, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 
Code 4899.
    \3\ U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1992 
Census of Transportation, Communications, and Utilities, UC92-S-1, 
Subject Series, Establishment and Firm Size, Table 2D, Employment 
Size of Firms: 1992, SIC Code 4899 (issued May 1995).
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    15. We estimate that--using current technology--up to four NGSO MSS 
systems could utilize the feeder uplink spectrum and that up to six 
NGSO MSS systems could utilize the feeder downlink spectrum being 
allocated in this proceeding. None of the Big LEO licensees is a small 
business because they each have revenues in excess of $11 million 
annually or have parent companies or investors that have revenues in 
excess of $11 million annually.
    16. We therefore certify that this Notice will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The Commission's Office of Public Affairs, Reference Operations 
Division, will send a copy of this Notice, including this 
certification, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 2

    Communications equipment, Radio, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

47 CFR Part 25

    Communications common carriers, Communications equipment, Radio, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Satellites.

47 CFR Part 97

    Communications equipment, Radio, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

Federal Communications Commission.
Magalie Roman Salas,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 98-22353 Filed 8-19-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P