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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 25

[IB Docket No. 12-267; FCC 12-117]

Comprehensive Review of Licensing and Operating Rules for Satellite Services

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.
ACTION: Proposed rule.
SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission initiates a comprehensive review of its rules governing licensing and operation of space stations and earth stations. The proposed amendments are designed to reflect evolving technology, eliminate unnecessary technical and information filing requirements for applicants, and reorganize and simplify existing requirements. Collectively, the changes proposed in this document will streamline our regulations, facilitating more rapid deployment of services to the public, greater investment, and new innovations in satellite services.
DATES: Comments are due on or before December 24, 2012 and reply comments are due on or before January 22, 2013
ADDRESSES: You may submit comment, identified by [docket number and/or rulemaking number], by any of the following methods:

*Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

*Federal Communications Commission's Web Site: http:///www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs.Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

*People with Disabilities:Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email:FCC504@fcc.govor phone 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

For detail instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see theSUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATIONsection of this document.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Bell (202) 418-0741, Satellite Division, International Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554. For additional information concerning the information collection(s) contained in this document, contact Judith B. Herman at 202-418-0214, or via the Internet atJudith-B.Herman@fcc.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This is a summary of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in IB Docket No. 12-267, adopted September 28, 2012 and released on September 28, 2012. The full text of this document is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document may also be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone 202-488-5300, facsimile 202-488-5563, or via emailFCC@BCPIWEB.com.

Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

This document contains proposed revised information collection requirements. As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burden and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Commission invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on the following information collection(s). Public and agency comments are due January 7, 2013. Comments should address: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimates; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

Summary of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking I. Introduction

1. As part of our ongoing efforts to update and streamline regulatory requirements, the Commission today initiates a comprehensive review of Part 25 of our rules, which governs licensing and operation of space stations and earth stations. The amendments we propose in this NPRM modernize the rules to better reflect evolving technology and reorganize and simplify existing requirements. Furthermore, the changes will remove unnecessary filing requirements for applicants requesting space and earth station licenses, allowing applicants and licensees to save time, effort, and costs in preparing applications. Other changes are designed to remove unnecessary technical restrictions, enabling applicants to submit fewer waiver requests, which will ease administrative burdens in submitting and processing applications and reduce the amount of time spent on applications by applicants, licensees, and the Commission.

II. Discussion

2. Part 25 of the Commission's rules is organized in the following manner: Subpart A contains general rules relating to scope and definitions; Subpart B contains rules relating to application filing requirements and licensing procedures; Subpart C provides technical standards for licensing earth and space stations; Subpart D contains rules governing earth and space station operations. In this NPRM, we propose to make revisions in each of these subparts. In the following discussion, we first address revisions that encompass more than one rule section. We then discuss proposed changes to specific rules in the order in which the rules appear in Part 25.

A. Definitions

3. There are two rule sections in Part 25 captioned “Definitions:” Sections 25.103 and 25.201. We propose to consolidate all Part 25 definitions into § 25.103, reserving § 25.201 for other use.

4. We propose amending the definition of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service to include the specific frequencies in which this service operates, to recognize that DBS operators may transmit signals intended for reception by subscribers, and to make clear that the term does not apply to space stations operating in this band in Europe and Asia, where the frequency allocations are different.

5. We proposed amending the definition of “Permitted Space Station List” (Permitted List) that currently appears in § 25.201 to provide more detail on the scope of authority granted when the Permitted List is authorized as a point of communication in a Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) earth station license. The Permitted List includes all U.S.-licensed geostationary-orbit space stations providing FSS in the conventional C- and Ku-bands, as well as non-U.S.-licensed geostationary-orbitspace stations approved for U.S. market access to provide FSS in the conventional C- and Ku-bands.

6. We also propose to add a definition of “Ka-band Space Station Permitted List,” (Ka-band Permitted List) to provide detail on the scope of authority granted when the Ka-band Permitted List is authorized as a point of communication in an FSS earth station license. The Commission's Ka-band Permitted List includes all U.S.-licensed geostationary-orbit space stations providing FSS in the 20/30 GHz band, as well as those non-U.S.-licensed geostationary-orbit space stations approved for U.S. market access to provide FSS in the 20/30 GHz band.

7. We propose to amend the definition of “routine processing or licensing” to reflect that our rules allow for routine processing of earth station applications in bands other than the conventional C- and Ku-bands. The proposed definition also cross-references the rules providing for routine processing of FSS earth stations and omits out-of-date and inaccurate text.

8. If we adopt the definitions proposed above, we seek comment on whether we should discontinue using the term “ALSAT” as a point of communication in earth station licenses and as a synonym for routinely licensed FSS earth stations in favor of the defined terms above.

9. We propose to define “12/14 GHz band” and “20/30 GHz band,” which are not currently defined, by specifying the frequency bands to which they refer. We also propose to replace the term “L-band,” which appears in various rules in Part 25, with the term “1.5/1.6 MHz MSS bands.”

10. We propose to delete the definition of “frequency assignment” in § 25.214(a)(2) since the meaning of the term is self-evident. We also propose to specify the frequencies allocated for the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) in § 25.214(c)(1), which allows us to delete § 25.214(c).

11. We propose to delete the definitions of “ambulatory” and “low-tide elevation,” in § 25.201. These terms are not used in Part 25, other than in the definition section. We also propose to remove the existing definition of “baseline” from § 25.201 and instead define “baseline” in § 25.221, which prescribes rules for blanket licensing of C-band earth stations on vessels.

12. We propose to add a definition of “shapeable antenna beams” in § 25.103. We propose to use this term in § 25.114, as explained below. Further, we propose to insert a word in the definition of “geostationary satellite” to conform to the definition of that term in § 2.1 and to correct typographic errors in the mathematical formula in the definition of “equivalent power flux-density.” We also propose to revise the definition of “coordination distance” to conform to the definition of that term in § 2.1.

13. Finally, we propose to delete unnecessary words from several definitions, including the definitions of ancillary terrestrial component, ancillary terrestrial component base station, ancillary terrestrial component mobile terminal, earth stations on vessel, equivalent power flux density, NGSO FSS gateway earth station, selected assignment, and vehicle-mounted earth station. Eliminating these words will have no effect on current authorizations.

B. Reporting Requirements 1. Annual Reports

14. We propose to consolidate annual reporting requirements, which are currently dispersed in several sections of Part 25, into a new rule, § 25.170, under a new subheading in Subpart B, “Reporting Requirements for Space Station Licensees.” We also propose to make the reporting requirements more consistent among the various satellite services and to establish a uniform due date for filing such reports. The general annual reporting rule that we propose to adopt would apply to the operators of all space stations licensed under Part 25. Further, we propose to clarify in the new rule that operators granted U.S. market access for non-U.S.-licensed space stations are required to file annual reports for those space stations.

15. Proposed § 25.170 would require U.S.-licensed space station operators, or operators granted U.S. market access, to report annually on June 30: (1) The status of space station construction and anticipated launch date, including any major problems or delays encountered; (2) identification of any space station(s) not available for service or otherwise not performing to specifications, any spectrum that the space station is unable to use, the cause(s) of these difficulties, and the date any space station was taken out of service or the malfunction identified; and (3) a current listing of a U.S. point(s) of contact for resolution of interference problems and emergency response. At the same time, we propose to delete service-specific reporting requirements that are either duplicative of, or are at a level of detail inconsistent with, the reporting requirements we propose here. We seek comment on any rule language necessary to ensure that duplicative reports are not filed for the same satellite, and whether there are specialized satellite services, such as remote sensing satellites, for which reporting may not be necessary.

16. Section 4.9(c) of the Commission's rules requires operators of space stations that carry common-carrier voice or paging communications to report outages of 30 minutes or longer to the Commission within deadlines triggered by discovery. We propose to eliminate the requirement that operators also list outages of more than 30 minutes in duration in their annual reports because the requirement is redundant insofar as it applies to outages that must be reported under § 4.9(c) and because we see no need to require temporary outages not subject to § 4.9(c) to be listed in annual reports.

2. Contact Information Reporting Requirements

17. We propose to move the requirements of § 25.272(b) for providing points of contact to a new § 25.171 under the new subheading, “Reporting Requirements for Space Station Licensees.” We also propose to condense the text of the requirement and to require operators to update the point of contact information provided under § 25.170(c) within 10 business days of any change.

3. Space Station Control Arrangements

18. Section 25.114(c)(9) requires space station applicants to include information pertaining to TT&C arrangements in Schedule S of FCC Form 312, which includes data fields for specifying a call sign, street address, and phone number for each earth station performing TT&C functions. We propose to modify this requirement for several reasons. We think that it is unnecessary to require space station operators to specify a street address and phone number for each TT&C station. More generally, space station applicants often do not have concrete plans for TT&C sites at the time when they file their applications. Requiring a space station applicant to specify a TT&C location that is later changed requires the filing of a subsequent license modification application that is otherwise unnecessary. We therefore propose to delete the requirement to submit this information in space station applications. Instead, we propose to require such TT&C information to be submitted after the issuance of space station licenses. To this end, we propose to add new § 25.172. This rule would require space station operators, including operators of non-U.S.-licensed space stations granted U.S. market access, to submit the following information before commencingcommercial operations in the United States: (1) The point of contact information required by proposed § 25.170(c); (2) the call signs of TT&C earth station(s) located in the United States; and (3) the city and country of any earth station located outside the United States providing TT&C functions for the satellite(s) in question. We propose to require operators already providing U.S. service to submit the information within 30 days of § 25.172's effective date. The proposed rule would require operators to file this information electronically through IBFS and to file an update within 10 days if any of this information changes, unless the change is temporary.

4. Results of In-Orbit Testing

19. Section 25.210(k) requires space station operators to measure the co-polarized and cross-polarized performance of all space station antennas during preliminary in-orbit testing and submit the measurement data to the Commission within 30 days after completing the testing. We propose to amend this provision to require operators to submit the data only upon request from the Commission. We propose to remove the amended provision from § 25.210(k) and insert it in a new section, § 25.173, under the proposed subheading for reporting requirements. We also propose to add a provision in § 25.173 to require space station licensees to notify the Commission at the conclusion of in-orbit testing whether a space station's measured performance is within authorized limits and whether the space station is capable of using its assigned frequencies.

C. Mobile Terminals Aboard Aircraft

20. Several rules in Part 25 prohibit use of MSS earth station transceivers or Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) mobile terminals aboard civil aircraft because on-board operation of these devices could interfere with aircraft radionavigation. Sections 25.136(a) and 25.143(k) prohibit operation of 1.6/2.4 GHz and 2 GHz MSS earth station transceivers or ATC terminals aboard civil aircraft unless the device “has a direct physical connection to the aircraft cabin or cockpit communication system.” Section 25.135(b) prohibits operation of Non-Voice, Non-Geostationary (NVNG) mobile transceivers aboard civil aircraft if they are capable of radiating in the 108-137 MHz frequency band. Associated rule provisions require “handheld or portable” NVNG transceivers capable of radiating in the 108-137 MHz band and handheld or portable 1.6/2.4 GHz and 2 GHz MSS or ATC transceivers to be labeled with a warning that these devices must not be operated on board civil aircraft. There is an identical warning label requirement in Section 25.136(h) for handheld or portable 1.5/1.6 GHz transceivers.

21. We propose to replace these various band-specific use restrictions and labeling requirements with a uniform aircraft use restriction and associated warning label requirement that would apply to all portable transceivers licensed under Part 25. We propose to insert the consolidated rule in a new section, § 25.285, in Subpart D (Technical Operation). We also propose a change in the scope of the use restriction. The provision exempting transceivers with “a direct physical connection to the aircraft cabin or cockpit communication system” may be too narrow. We propose to revise the exception to cover devices that have been installed in aircraft in a manner approved by the FAA or are used with the consent of the pilot. Further, we propose to make it clear that the warning label requirement does not apply to devices that are too large or too heavy to be brought aboard as carry-on luggage or otherwise cannot feasibly be operated by passengers in aircraft cabins. Finally, we propose to amend the consolidated rule to apply to transmit-only devices (e.g.,Globalstar “SPOT” terminals) as well as transceivers.

D. Milestone Rules

22. The Commission codified standard milestone implementation requirements in 2003 for space station licensees in all satellite services, except for DBS and SDARS, in § 25.164 . The rule requires space station licensees to submit, on or before the respective milestone deadlines, information demonstrating compliance with the implementation milestones for contracting for satellite construction, completing critical design review (CDR), and commencing physical construction. Section 25.164 does not include, however, a provision requiring a licensee to demonstrate compliance with the “launch and operate” milestone for geostationary systems or the “launch and operate the first satellite” or “bring [all satellites] into operation” milestones for non-geostationary systems. We propose to add a new paragraph in § 25.164 providing that licensees must, on or before an applicable deadline for launch or commencement of operation, either certify compliance with the milestone requirement or advise the Commission that the requirement has not been met.

23. We further propose to add a sentence in § 25.164(a)(4) to clarify that licensees can demonstrate compliance with a launch/operate milestone requirement by certifying that the space station has been launched and placed in its authorized orbital location or non-geostationary orbit and that its in-orbit operation has been tested and found to be consistent with the terms of the authorization.

24. For the CDR and commence physical construction milestones, § 25.164 simply requires space station licensees to submit “information * * * sufficient to demonstrate” compliance. We invite comment on whether we should provide greater specificity in the rules concerning the evidence appropriate for demonstrating compliance with the CDR and commence physical construction milestones. We propose to delete obsolete provisions in §§ 25.164(c), (d), and (e) that exempt licensees of satellite systems licensed prior to September 11, 2003 from the milestone requirements for contracting for satellite construction, completing CDR, and commencing physical construction. Similarly, we propose to delete an obsolete provision in § 25.164(g) that exempts systems licensed prior to September 20, 2004 from the milestone requirement for hybrid systems. Finally, we propose to delete service-specific milestone provisions in other sections of Part 25 that are redundant and/or inconsistent with the current or proposed provisions in § 25.164.

E. Form 312EZ and the Autogrant Procedure

25. In public notices released in 1999 and 2000, the Commission announced an “autogrant” procedure for “routine” license applications for FSS earth stations that would operate in the conventional C-band (i.e.,the 3700-4200 MHz downlink band and the 5925-6425 MHz uplink band) or conventional Ku-band (11.7-12.2 GHz downlink and 14.0-14.5 GHz uplink). Applications eligible for the autogrant procedure would be deemed to be granted 35 days after the date they appear on public notice as accepted for filing, provided no objection was filed during the 30-day notice period.

26. In a rulemaking order released in 2003, the Commission adopted a simplified application form, Form 312EZ, to be used for earth station applications eligible for autogrant processing. Rules pertaining to use of Form 312EZ are set forth in § 25.115(a)(2), but these provisions do not fully specify the eligibility criteria or mention the autogrant procedure. Inthe interest of improving transparency, we propose to amend § 25.115(a)(2) to codify the autogrant procedure and list all eligibility criteria. We also propose to amend an existing provision in § 25.115(a)(2) that precludes use of Form 312EZ to apply for ESV or VMES licenses to additionally preclude use of that form to apply for licenses for aircraft earth stations. Further, we propose to codify a practice of permitting applicants to apply for only one transmitting antenna on Form 312EZ. Finally, we invite comment on adding a further eligibility criterion pertaining to FAA notification.

27. When it adopted Form 312EZ, the Commission did not make the form available to applicants proposing earth stations that would operate in the 20/30 GHz frequency bands because it was considering certain revisions of the 20/30 GHz FSS service rules. Those issues have been resolved, and 20/30 GHz GSO FSS earth stations are eligible for routine processing under § 25.138(a). We tentatively conclude that § 25.115 should be changed to extend Form 312EZ and autogrant eligibility to routine applications for individual 20/30 GHz earth stations that would communicate via geostationary satellites previously coordinated with Federal government systems pursuant to Footnote US334.

28. Section 25.115(a)(3) provides that if Form 312EZ “is not available,” an applicant for a transmitting earth station that would otherwise be required to use that form must use Form 312, Main Form and Schedule B, instead. We believe that if our proposal to fully specify the eligibility criteria for using Form 312EZ is adopted, this provision will no longer be needed, and therefore, we propose to delete it.

F. Rain Fade Compensation

29. The Commission's rules allow earth station operators to increase the power of uplink transmissions above otherwise applicable limits to overcome “rain fade,”i.e.,attenuation of transmitted signals due to the scattering effect of precipitation in the atmosphere. Most, but not all, of the rain fade compensation provisions are set forth in § 25.204. Some of these provisions are redundant or contradictory. In addition, § 25.138(a)(5) contains a more complex rain fade compensation allowance for earth stations transmitting in the 28.35-28.6 GHz or 29.25-30.0 GHz band.

30. We propose a number of revisions to these provisions. First, we propose to amend the current rain fade compensation rule in § 25.204(e) to apply only to uplink transmissions in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band. This change would be consistent with the Commission's intent when it adopted that provision and would eliminate conflict with other provisions prescribing rain fade allowances for earth stations transmitting in other frequency bands above 10 GHz. Second, we propose to move the rain fade rule for 20/30 GHz earth stations in § 25.138(a)(5) and the rain fade rule for 17/24 GHz BSS feeder-link stations in § 25.204(g) to § 25.204(e). Third, we propose to eliminate the rain fade provision for 20/30 GHz earth stations in § 25.204(g), which is redundant with respect to the rule that we propose to move from § 25.138(a)(5) and is unduly restrictive in making rain fade compensation mandatory. As a result of these proposed changes, the rain fade compensation rules now interspersed throughout Part 25 would be contained in § 25.204(e). In addition to those changes, we propose to include text in the rain fade rule for Ku-band stations in § 25.204(e)(1) to make clear that it applies to earth stations that have been routinely licensed based on conformance with input power limits specified in § § 25.134, 25.211, or 25.212.

31. Moreover, we invite comment on adopting a rule allowing earth stations transmitting in frequencies above 10 GHz, that are not subject to any of the foregoing rain fade rules, to increase uplink power to the extent needed to close communication links, provided that no harmful interference results.

G. Other Proposed Changes to Subpart B—Applications and Licenses

32. Subpart B of Part 25 includes rules relating to filing applications and licensing procedures. As discussed below, we propose to make several substantive changes to the information requirements for space and earth station applications. In addition, we propose other non-substantive changes that remove redundant or unnecessary language, and clarify potentially confusing text.

1. Section 25.111“Additional Information”

33. Section 25.111(b) prescribes requirements pertaining to international coordination procedures for U.S.-licensed space stations. The first sentence states that “applicants, permittees, and licensees of radio stations governed by this part shall provide the Commission with all information it requires for the Advance Publication, Coordination, and Notification of frequency assignments pursuant to the International Radio Regulations.” We propose to add that the required information includes “due diligence” information. We also propose to change the phrase “international Radio Regulations” to “Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union.” We also propose to correct a grammatical error in the next sentence in § 25.111(b) and to insert the word “such” in the third sentence of § 25.111(b), which would then read: “Any radio station for which such coordination has not been completed may be subject to additional terms and conditions * * *.”

34. Since 2002, the ITU has assessed cost recovery fees for processing information filings for space networks. The International Bureau issued a Public Notice in 2001 announcing that an applicant, licensee, or other party on whose behalf the International Bureau submits filings to the ITU will be responsible for timely payment of these fees. The Public Notice also stated that such parties will be required to certify that they accept this obligation. We propose to add a new rule, § 25.111(d), that would codify this policy. The rule would state that the Commission will submit the information required by §§ 25.111(b) or (c) to the ITU only after the applicant or licensee has filed a signed declaration that it unconditionally accepts all resultant ITU cost-recovery responsibility, referencing the call sign and international name of the satellite(s) in question and including contact information. The rule would also require the party in interest to update the contact information as necessary. Finally, the rule would require the party in interest to remit payment of any cost-recovery fee by the due date specified in the ITU invoice and would state that a license granted in reliance on such a declaration, and disposition of any future or pending Part 25 application from the same party, will be contingent upon discharge of any such payment obligation.

2. Section 25.112“Defective Applications”

35. Pursuant to the first-come, first-served licensing framework, the Commission places applications for new satellites at new orbital locations and market access requests for non-U.S.-licensed satellites at new orbital locations in a processing “queue,” and considers them in the order in which they are filed. In certain circumstances, we make an orbital location available by announcing that a filing window will open at a specific date and time. In these situations, operators often file multiple, identical applications justbefore and after the filing window opens in an attempt to attain first-in-line processing status. The rules do not currently include any provision for dismissing duplicative applications filed after a filing window has opened. We propose to amend § 25.112(a), which specifies grounds for dismissing applications, to provide for dismissal of duplicative applications in a processing queue. Thus, we would maintain on file the first application or market access request filed by a company after the filing window opens and dismiss any duplicative applications and market access requests subsequently filed by the same party.

3. Section 25.113“Station Licenses and Launch Authority”

36. Section 25.113(a) states that applicants for earth station licenses must comply with the provisions of § 1.1312 of the Commission's rules regarding environmental impact, prior to beginning construction. We propose to amend this rule to add that earth station applicants must also comply with requirements in Part 17 of the Commission's rules pertaining to construction, marking, and lighting of antenna structures. We also propose to insert similar provisions in § 25.113(b) pertaining to construction of ATC base stations.

37. Sections 25.113(c) and (e) require applications for new earth stations or for earth station modifications involving alteration of the overall height of one or more existing antenna structures to include an FCC Antenna Structure Registration Number for the antenna structure, if assigned. If no such number has been assigned, § 25.113(e) requires the applicant to state whether prior FAA notification is required by Part 17 of the Commission's rules and, if so, whether the applicant or owner of the structure has notified the FAA of the proposed construction or alteration and applied for an Antenna Structure Registration Number. Applicants who maintain that prior FAA notification is not required for construction or alteration of a structure with overall height more than 6.1 meters above ground level must explain in the application why such prior notification is not required. These requirements are also found in § 25.130(e), which applies specifically to license applications for transmitting earth stations. We propose to move these rule provisions from § 25.113 to § 25.115, which contains general requirements for earth station licensing, and delete the duplicative provisions in § 25.130(e). We also propose to revise the text of these provisions to make them more succinct.

38. Section 25.113(d) states that owners of earth station antenna structures must comply with painting, marking, and lighting requirements in Part 17 of the Commission's rules and that if the structure is owned by a party other than the station licensee, the “licensee or permittee” will be held responsible for compliance with such requirements in the event of default by the owner. Because these are operating requirements rather than licensing rules, we propose to remove them from Section 25.113, which is in Subpart B (Applications and Licenses) and reinsert them in a new section, Section 25.286, in Part 25, Subpart D (Technical Operations). We also propose to delete the words “or permittee” from this provision because the Commission does not issue separate permits for earth station construction.

39. Section 25.113(f) states that construction permits are not required for U.S.-licensed space stations. This statement is overly broad in that it does not recognize that § 319(d) of the Communications Act requires construction permits for broadcasting stations. As defined in the Communications Act, “broadcasting” means “dissemination of radio communications intended to be received by the public, directly or by the intermediary of relay stations.” Service provided only to paying subscribers is not deemed to be broadcast service for purposes of the Act, however. While no space stations currently licensed by the Commission operate as broadcast stations, an applicant could seek authority to do so. In view of this, we propose to amend the first sentence in § 25.113(f) to state that construction permits are not required for U.S.-licensed space stations, unless they are authorized to disseminate radio communications to the public at large.

40. Section 25.113(h) states that licensees of non-geostationary-orbit (NGSO) satellite systems need not apply separately for authority to operate—i.e.,place into active service—technically identical in-orbit spare satellites previously authorized by a blanket space station license. This provision requires the licensee to notify the Commission that it has activated an in-orbit spare within 30 days of the activation. It also requires the licensee to certify that the activated spare did not increase the number of operating satellites in the licensee's system above the maximum number authorized by the license and will be operated within the terms and conditions of the license. Section 25.113(h) requires the licensee to file the notification and certification electronically on FCC Form 312. Sections 25.143(d) and 25.146(n) similarly provide that 1.6/2.4 GHz MSS, 2 GHz MSS, and 12/14 GHz NGSO FSS licensees may activate technically identical in-orbit spares without applying for additional authority, provided that they notify the Commission and certify that the authorized number of operating space stations has not been exceeded. Unlike § 25.113(h), however, §§ 25.143(d) and 25.146(n) require the licensee to file the notification and certification within 10 days and do not require the licensee to submit the filing on Form 312. To resolve these discrepancies, we propose to amend § 25.113(h) to require the notification and certification to be filed within 10 days and to eliminate the requirement to submit such filings on Form 312. We also propose to remove and reserve § 25.143(d) and to delete § 25.146(n) as redundant. We invite comment as to whether we should amend § 25.113(h) to require the licensee to certify that it has tested the activated in-orbit spare and that its operations conform with the license terms.

4. Section 25.114“Applications for Space Station Authorizations”

41. Section 25.114 prescribes content requirements for space station applications. We propose to amend various provisions of this section to eliminate obsolete or otherwise unnecessary requirements. We also propose to add several new requirements to § 25.114 addressing radio frequency interference characteristics and orbital parameters of space stations and revise this section's organization.

a. Section 25.114(a)

42. Section 25.114(a) states that a comprehensive proposal shall be submitted for each proposed space station on FCC Form 312, Main Form and Schedule S, together with attached exhibits required by § 25.114(d). We propose to amend § 25.114(a) to clarify that a space station application can be submitted either for a single space station or for a non-geostationary satellite constellation. In connection with this proposed change, we propose to delete § 25.114(e), which states that a single application may be filed for a constellation of technically identical non-geostationary-orbit space stations. The provision that we propose to add in § 25.114(a) would not preclude an applicant from requesting blanket authority for a constellation of non-geostationary space stations that are not technically identical.

b. Section 25.114(c)

43. Section 25.114(c) contains a list of the types of information that space station applicants must provide in the FCC Form 312 (Main Form and Schedule S). Section 25.114(c)(4) requires applicants to specify various technical parameters pertaining to the characteristics of proposed space stations and the properties of the radio frequency emissions they would transmit and receive. The first of these provisions, § 25.114(c)(4)(i), requires the applicant to specify “[r]adio frequencies and polarization plan (including beacon, telemetry, and telecommand functions), center frequency, and polarization of transponders (both receiving and transmitting frequencies).” The ITU now assesses interference separately for uplinks and downlinks since current satellite designs are more complex with variable transponder sizes and large numbers of spot beams. We believe that the Commission should follow this approach. We therefore propose to amend this provision to state that applicants must provide the frequency characteristics of each uplink and downlink beam. This will enable us to evaluate the interference potential of space station uplink beams and downlink beams separately, rather than on a transponder-by-transponder basis. In addition, some space stations can vary the bandwidths of receive and transmit channels with on-board processing. Instead of requiring applicants for such space stations to specify channel bandwidths, we propose to require them to specify the maximum range of frequencies over which each beam can operate. We invite comment as to whether we should amend § 25.114(c)(4)(i) to require applicants to specify the center frequencies of TT&C beams within a 5 megahertz range or a range of 2 percent of the assigned bandwidth, whichever is smaller.

44. We propose to revise § 25.114(c)(4)(ii) to add a requirement to specify the maximum equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) density for each transmitting beam of a given space station. This change would allow us to delete requirements in this rule to specify a subset of technical characteristics used to calculate EIRP density, such as emission designators, allocated bandwidths of emissions, final amplifier output power, and net losses between amplifier output and antenna input. We also propose to adopt modified information requirements in § 25.114(c)(4)(ii) pertaining to shapeable antenna beams to reduce paperwork burdens for applicants proposing use of shapeable beam technology.

45. Section 25.114(c)(4)(iii) requires a space station applicant to identify “which beams are connected or switchable to each transponder and TT&C function.” We propose to delete this provision because it would be rendered unnecessary by the changes in § 25.114(c)(4)(i) proposed above.

46. Section 25.114(c)(4)(iv) requires applicants to specify receiver noise temperature. We propose to delete this provision because we can easily calculate receiver noise temperature from the gain-to-temperature ratio and peak gain data required by proposed § 25.114(c)(4)(v).

47. Section 25.114(c)(4)(v) requires applicants to specify “the relationship between satellite receive antenna gain pattern and gain-to-temperature ratio and saturation flux density for each antenna beam * * *.” We propose to amend this provision to require that applicants specify peak antenna gain and gain-to-temperature ratio at beam peak. This revised requirement is sufficient to allow us to determine the interference susceptibility of such beams. For TT&C beams, we propose to require applicants to specify the minimum required uplink power flux density, which would enable us to assess the interference susceptibility of beams used TT&C. We also propose to add a requirement to specify the minimum and maximum saturation flux density levels of receiving beams fed into transponders, which would similarly be useful in assessing interference susceptibility.

48. Section 25.114(c)(4)(vi) requires applicants to specify the gain of transponder channels. This information is no longer necessary in performing an assessment of interference potential. We also propose removing § 25.114(c)(4)(vii), which requires applicants to specify predicted receiver and transmitter channel filter response characteristics. These parameters are not required to perform interference calculations.

49. Section 25.114(c)(5) requires applicants to specify orbital locations and station-keeping tolerances for geostationary space stations. Section 25.114(c)(5)(i) allows an applicant to propose alternate orbital locations. This reflects a former “orbital location fungibility” policy that the Commission eliminated when it reformed space station licensing procedures in 2003. Hence, we propose to delete the phrase “or locations if alternatives are proposed” from this provision. Section 25.114(c)(5)(ii) requires an applicant to list “the factors that support the orbital location assignment or assignments,”i.e.,to state reasons for assigning the proposed orbital location(s) to the applicant. The need for such information was also eliminated by the 2003 reform. We therefore propose to delete this requirement. In addition, we propose minor changes in §§ 25.114(c)(5)(iii) and 25.114(c)(5)(iv) to delete redundant phrases.

50. Section 25.114(c)(6) requires applicants to specify orbital parameters for non-geostationary satellites. One such parameter currently collected in Schedule S but not listed in § 25.114(c)(6), is the initial phase angle of a non-geostationary satellite in its orbital plane at a reference time. This information is needed for properly modeling non-geostationary satellite constellations. We propose to add a provision to § 25.114(c)(6) to require applicants to specify this parameter. We also propose to delete the unnecessary phrase “applicable information relating to” from § 25.114(c)(6)(i).

51. Section 25.114(c)(7) requires applicants for geostationary space stations to specify “the accuracy with which the orbital inclination, the antenna axis attitude, and longitudinal drift will be maintained.” We propose to move the requirement to specify antenna axis attitude accuracy to § 25.114(c)(5) because that parameter is related to the station-keeping accuracy parameters listed in that Section. We propose to delete the requirements to specify orbital inclination accuracy and longitudinal drift accuracy, which are redundant, as the same information is required by provisions in § 25.114(c)(5). These changes would result in removing all of the current text from § 25.114(c)(7). We propose to replace this text with an amended version of the current provisions in § 25.114(d)(4). We also propose to codify the requirement to include a general specification of the frequency bands on the proposed satellite(s), which is currently collected in Schedule S, in the revised § 25.114(c)(7).

52. Section 25.114(c)(8) requires applicants to specify power flux density levels within each proposed coverage area and energy dispersal necessary to comply with limits in § 25.208. For clarification, we propose to amend this provision by changing “[c]alculation of” to “[c]alculated,” “power flux density levels” to “maximum power flux density levels,” and “energy dispersal” to “energy dispersal bandwidths.”

53. Section 25.114(c)(10) requires the applicant to specify spacecraft weight and dimensions, on-ground and in-orbit mass, power budgets at beginning and end of life, estimated space stationoperational lifetime, reliability of the space station, and the basis for the reliability estimate. We propose to retain the requirement to specify estimated operational lifetime. We propose to delete the other requirements because they are either collected elsewhere or are unnecessary.

54. Section 25.114(c)(11) requires an applicant to indicate whether the proposed space station will be operated on a common carrier or non-common carrier basis. If the applicant proposes to operate on a non-common carrier basis, the rule requires a general description of the non-common-carrier transactions and specification of “the number of transponders to be offered on a non-common-carrier basis.” We propose to delete the requirement to describe transactions and specify the number of transponders to be used for non-common-carrier services, as there is no need for routine review of such information.

55. Section 25.114(c)(12) requires an applicant to estimate the dates when satellite construction will commence, when such construction will be completed, when the satellite(s) will be launched, and when they will be placed in service. The Commission's milestone rules and associated reporting requirements reduce the need for such time estimates in license applications. We therefore propose to delete § 25.114(c)(12).

56. Section 25.114(c)(13) requires applicants to provide “[t]he polarization information specified in §§ 25.210(a)(1), (a)(3), and (i), to the extent applicable.” For clarity, we propose to amend § 25.114(c)(13) to require applicants to specify in Schedule S the polarization information necessary for determining compliance with § 25.210.

c. Section 25.114(d)

57. Section 25.114(d) lists the types of information space station applicants must provide in a narrative attachment. We propose changes to many of these rules.

58. Section 25.114(d)(1) requires the applicant to provide a “[g]eneral description of the overall system facilities, operations, and services.” We propose to amend this provision to include a simplified requirement that the applicant explain how space station receiving beams would be connected to transmitting beams.

59. Section 25.114(d)(2) requires space station applicants to specify any feeder link and/or inter-satellite service frequencies requested for the satellite, “together with any demonstration otherwise required by this chapter for use of those frequencies (e.g.,§§ 25.203(j) and (k)).” The requirement to specify feeder link and inter-satellite service frequencies is redundant, as § 25.114(c)(4)(i) requires applicants to enter the same information in Schedule S. The cross-reference to § 25.203(j) is also redundant, since the same information is required by §§ 25.114(c)(4)(i) and 25.114(d)(3). Further, the cross-reference to § 25.203(k) is inappropriate because that provision does not prescribe a content requirement for space station applications. We therefore propose to delete § 25.114(d)(2).

60. Section 25.114(d)(3) requires space station applicants to provide predicted antenna gain contour(s) for each satellite transmit and receive beam and requested orbital location. The rule requires applicants to attach gain contour diagrams for geostationary space stations in .gxt files, which can be opened with the GIMS software program. Consequently, applicants for space stations with many transmit and/or receive beams must attach a large number of .gxt files to their applications. Allowing applicants to attach the contour diagrams in a GIMS container file, instead, would significantly reduce paperwork burdens on applicants and Commission staff, because all of the diagrams could be included in one data file. We therefore propose to amend this provision to require applicants to submit antenna gain pattern contour diagrams for geostationary orbit satellites in a GIMS-readable format. Because applicants submit such gain contour diagrams as attachments to Schedule S, we further propose to move this requirement to § 25.114(c)(4)(vi).

61. In the interest of promoting administrative efficiency and reducing paperwork burdens for applicants, we propose to adopt a provision that would allow applicants for space stations with a large number of identical spot beams, other than DBS space stations, to provide antenna gain contour diagrams for one transmit and one receive antenna beam. Rather than supplying redundant information for the remaining beams the applicant must supply one of the following: (1) A map showing the locations of all of the spot beams, (2) a table giving the geographic locations in latitude and longitude to within 0.1 degree of the antenna beam boresights, or (3) a map of the isolines formed by combining some or all of the spot beams into one composite beam. We propose to insert this provision into § 25.114(d)(3).

62. Section 25.114(d)(4) requires space station applicants to describe the types of services to be provided, the areas to be served, the transmission characteristics and performance objectives for each type of proposed service, details of the link noise budget, typical or baseline earth station parameters, modulation parameters, and overall link performance analysis. We propose to retain the requirement to describe the services to be provided and the areas to be served and delete the other requirements listed above, which are either redundant or require the applicant to submit information not needed for interference assessment. Schedule S collects information about the services to be provided and the service areas, so we propose to move the requirement to provide such information to § 25.114(c)(7).

63. We propose to delete the first sentence of Section 25.114(d)(5). The substance of this sentence is repeated in the next sentence of that provision. We also propose to clarify this provision by changing “power flux density” to “maximum power flux density.”

64. Section 25.114(d)(7) states that certain applicants must include information required by § 25.140(b)(1), which, in turn, refers back to § 25.114. We propose to delete this circuitous cross-reference from § 25.114(d)(7).

65. Section 25.114(d)(10) states that applications for 1.6/2.4 GHz Mobile-Satellite Service space stations must include “all information specified in § 25.143.” We propose to amend this provision to specifically cross-reference § 25.143(b), which is the only paragraph in § 25.143 that prescribes application content requirements.

66. We propose to delete redundant text from § 25.114(d)(11), which requires applicants to state whether the space station is to operate on a common carrier or non-common carrier basis. This information is already required by § 25.114(c)(11).

67. Section 25.114(d)(13) contains special information requirements for DBS space station applicants. We propose minor changes in this section to clarify that the cross-references to Appendices 4, 30, and 30A refer to appendices to the ITU Radio Regulations.

68. Section 25.114(d)(14) requires applicants seeking authority to construct, launch, or operate a space station—or seeking access to the U.S. market for a non-U.S.-licensed space station—to disclose plans to mitigate the creation and effects of orbital debris that may result from the proposed activities. We seek comment on amending § 25.114(d)(14) to reflect policies that the Commission has previously adopted regarding orbital debris mitigation disclosure that are not currentlycodified in Part 25. As a specific example, we seek comment on amending § 25.114(d)(14)(iv) to add that applicants for space stations to be used only for commercial remote-sensing may, in lieu of submitting detailed post-mission disposal plans to the Commission, certify that they have submitted such plans to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for review. We also seek comment on whether information currently provided as part of a narrative statement required by § 25.114(d) could instead be provided by applicants as a certification or data entry as part of Schedule S, pursuant to § 25.114(c).

5. Section 25.115“Applications for Earth Station Authorizations”

69. Section 25.115(d) states that non-voice non-geostationary (NVNG), 1.6/2.4 GHz, and 2 GHz MSS user transceivers may be blanket-licensed, rather than individually licensed. The Commission issues blanket licenses for MSS transceiver operations in all of the allocated MSS frequency bands. We therefore propose to amend § 25.115(d) to remove the references to specific frequency bands. Section 25.115(d) also includes a statement that an application for a blanket license for MSS user transceivers shall include “the information described in § 25.136.” We propose to modify this text to require an applicant for a blanket license for 1.5/1.6 GHz MSS mobile earth stations to explain how it would comply with the priority and preemptive access requirements, currently set forth in §§ 25.136(d) and (e).

70. Section 25.115(e) applies to applications for earth stations operating in the 20/30 GHz band. The first sentence in § 25.115(e) states that license applications for individual earth stations operating in the 20/30 GHz band shall be filed on Form 312, Main Form and Schedule B, and shall include “the information described in § 25.138.” The Commission's band plan for these frequencies permits use by FSS satellites in both geostationary orbits (GSO) and non-geostationary orbits (NGSO). The provisions in § 25.138, however, apply, by their terms, only to applications for earth stations that communicate via GSO space stations. We propose to amend § 25.115(e) to indicate that the requirement to provide the information required by § 25.138 applies only to applications for earth stations that would communicate via GSO satellites. We also propose to delete the first sentence of § 25.115(e), which states that applications for 20/30 GHz earth stations shall be filed on Form 312, Main Form, and Schedule B. This provision is redundant with §§ 25.115(a)(1), 25.130(a), and 25.131(a), which, together, require all earth station applications to be filed on those forms.

6. Section 25.118“Modifications Not Requiring Prior Authorization”

71. Section 25.118(a)(2) states that an earth station licensee may add or change transmitters or antenna facilities or replace such equipment that is not electrically identical, without prior authority, where the new facilities do not require frequency coordination or exceed existing technical constraints. The rule, as currently drafted, by its terms, is effectively limited to FSS earth stations operations. We seek comment on whether we should modify the rule to include generic text applicable to both FSS and MSS.

72. Section 25.118(e) provides that a licensee may move a geostationary space station to a different orbital location assigned to that licensee without prior authority under certain circumstances, after giving 30-days prior notice to the Commission and potentially affected parties. One of the prerequisites is that the space station licensee must certify that it has coordinated operation at the new location with potentially affected space station operators. We propose to amend this provision to make clear that such coordination must include coordination of orbital station-keeping ranges.

73. Section 25.118(e)(8) provides that before relocating a DBS space station without prior authority, the licensee must certify that it “will not cause more interference at the new location than … would occur from the current U.S. assignments in the [ITU] Region 2 BSS Plan and its associated Feeder Link Plan.” We propose to revise this provision to allow DBS operators who will operate within the parameters of a pending Region 2 BSS Plan modification to relocate their space stations pursuant to § 25.118(e).

74. In comments filed in another proceeding, Globalstar Licensee LLC advocated amending § 25.118(e) to allow a licensee of a constellation of NGSO space stations to re-position individual space stations without prior Commission authority, provided that the number of authorized operating space stations is not exceeded and the licensee certifies that the change(s) will not increase interference. We invite public comment on Globalstar's proposal, and on what information should be included in the prior notice.

7. Section 25.121“License Term and Renewals”

75. We propose to amend § 25.121(d)(1) to provide that the license term for a geostationary space station will begin on the date when the licensee certifies that the space station's tested performance is consistent with the station authorization and that the space station has been placed in its assigned orbital location and is capable of using the assigned frequencies, pursuant to proposed § 25.173(b). We likewise propose to amend § 25.121(d)(2) to provide that the license term for NGSO space stations will begin on the date when the licensee certifies pursuant to § 25.173(b) that the tested performance of an initial space station is consistent with the authorization and that the space station has been placed in its assigned orbit and is capable of using the assigned frequencies.

76. Section 25.121(d)(2) includes a statement that “all [non-geostationary] space stations brought into service during the 15-year license term shall operate pursuant to the system authorization and the operating authority for all space stations will terminate upon the expiration of the system license.” We believe that it is redundant to state that NGSO space stations brought into service during the license term shall operate pursuant to the system authorization, as this is already stated in the system license. We therefore propose to revise this provision to simply state that operating authority for all space stations brought into service under the system license will terminate when the system license expires.

8. Section 25.129“Equipment Authorization for Portable Earth-Station Transceivers”

77. Section 25.129(c) prescribes content requirements for applications for certification of portable earth station transceivers pursuant to Part 2, Subpart J. We propose to amend this provision by adding a cross-reference to the labeling requirement in proposed new § 25.285(b).

9. Section 25.130“Filing Requirements for Transmitting Earth Stations”

78. The International Bureau has allowed applicants to apply for a single earth station license with multiple antennas in certain circumstances. In frequency bands shared with terrestrial services on a co-primary basis, an applicant may request a single license for multiple antennas if the proposed antennas would be located within onegeographic second of each other. In frequency bands allocated only to satellite services on a primary basis, an applicant may request a single license for multiple antennas if the proposed antennas are all within 10 geographic seconds of each other. We propose to codify this policy in a new provision, § 25.130(g). The new rule would state that an applicant may request a single earth station license to cover multiple antennas at fixed locations transmitting in frequency bands shared on a co-primary basis with terrestrial services if the antennas will all be sited within an area bounded by one second of latitude and longitude. The new rule would also permit applicants to request a single license to cover multiple antennas transmitting in unshared bands if the proposed antennas will all be sited within an area bounded by 10 seconds of latitude and longitude. We invite comment on the type of information applicants should be required to provide to facilitate administration of this policy. In addition, as explained previously, we also propose to amend § 25.130 by deleting redundant provisions from § 25.130(e).

10. Section 25.131“Filing Requirements for Receive-Only Earth Stations”

79. Section 25.131(b) states that “except as provided in paragraph (j) of this section,” receive-only earth stations in the Fixed-Satellite Service that operate with U.S.-licensed satellites may be registered with the Commission in order to receive protection from interference from terrestrial microwave stations in co-primary frequency bands. We propose to amend § 25.131(b) to clarify that a receive-only FSS earth station that receives signals from a non-U.S.-licensed space station in a band shared co-equally with terrestrial microwave stations (i.e.,the C-band) may be registered as well, if the non-U.S.-licensed space station is on the Permitted List.

80. We also propose to amend § 25.131(b) by inserting a cross-reference to § 25.209(e), which provides that earth stations with antennas not conforming to the standards specified in §§ 25.209(a) and (b) are entitled to no more protection from interference than earth stations conforming to those standards.

81. Section 25.131(j)(2) states that receive-only earth stations need not be licensed to receive transmissions from non-U.S.-licensed space stations on the Permitted List, provided that certain requirements are satisfied. One of the requirements is that the earth station's antenna meets the performance standards in §§ 25.209(a) and (b). We propose to delete that requirement. Receive-only stations cannot cause interference, whether or not their antennas meet the standards in §§ 25.209(a) and (b). Furthermore, the operator of any earth station not conforming to those standards can claim no more protection from interference than it could claim if the station's antenna met the standards.

11. Section 25.132“Verification of Earth Station Antenna Performance Standards”

82. Section 25.132(a)(1) states that all license applications for transmitting earth stations, except for earth stations operating in the 20/30 GHz band, must include a certificate from the antenna manufacturer(s) that the manufacturer has ascertained through testing that the performance of the antenna(s) conforms to the standards in Section 25.209 of the Commission's rules. We propose to clarify that this provision is limited in scope to applications for FSS earth stations. Further, we propose to amend § 25.132(a)(1) to allow applicants to certify, in the alternative, that the tested antenna performance is consistent with either off-axis EIRP density standards in Part 25, or with coordinated off-axis EIRP density specifications. We also propose to amend this provision to afford greater flexibility by allowing an applicant to certify it has reviewed the radiation pattern testing performed by the manufacturer, instead of submitting a certificate of compliance from the manufacturer.

83. Section 25.132(a)(2) states that applications for transmitting earth stations operating in the 20/30 GHz band must include the measurements in §§ 25.138(d) and (e). The provisions in § 25.138 apply only to 20/30 GHz earth stations that communicate via geostationary space stations. However, NGSO FSS networks may also operate in portions of the 20/30 GHz band. We propose to amend § 25.132(a)(2) to clarify that only applications for 20/30 GHz earth stations communicating via geostationary space stations need to comply with §§ 25.138(d) and (e).

84. Section 25.132(d) prescribes on-site measurement requirements for earth station antennas over three meters in diameter. We propose to amend this provision to clarify that it does not apply to large antennas for 20/30 GHz GSO FSS earth stations, which are subject to somewhat different on-site measurement requirements in § 25.138(d).

85. Section 25.132(b)(3) requires applicants proposing to operate with antennas that do not conform to the standards in §§ 25.209(a) and (b) to submit gain test plots from the antenna manufacturer, if the applicant is requesting a license based on coordination or off-axis EIRP density under §§ 25.220, 25.221, 25.222, 25.223, or 25.226. We propose to amend this provision to clarify that applicants seeking authority to operate non-conforming antennas pursuant to § 25.218 must submit antenna gain plots as well.

12. Section 25.133“Period of Construction; Certification of Commencement of Operation”

86. Section 25.133(a)(1) states that each earth station license, except licenses for mobile earth stations, will include a condition specifying a time period within which the station must be constructed and placed into operation. Section 25.133(a)(2) states that each license for mobile earth stations will include a condition specifying a time within which station operation must commence and further states that the network in which the mobile stations will operate must be brought into operation within 12 months of the license grant. We propose to revise the exception in § 25.133(a)(1) to cover all blanket earth station licenses and likewise propose to am