From CommLawBlog, by Paul J. Feldman 2021-03-03
Recently, the FCC’s International Bureau published a Public Notice regarding (1) operators of incumbent FSS C-Band earth station antennas that have been reported as no longer operational and (2) incumbent FSS C-Band earth station operators that have not responded to communications from RSM and/or incumbent C-Band satellite operators. That Public Notice requires C-Band Earth Station operators listed in attachments to the Notice to submit to the FCC by April 19, 2021, a statement affirming the continued operation of the identified earth station antennas and their intent to participate in the C-Band transition. Failure by those identified operators to make that submission will result in automatic termination of the earth station authorizations, and removal from the list of “incumbent” earth stations entitled to protection from interference, and may not be entitled to assistance and reimbursement in connection with the transition.
I'm glad that the FCC is finally onto this trick bad practice of the satellite earth station industry of ignoring their obligation to maintain up-to-date information for their operating licenses. When the FCC allocated the 3.65 GHz to "lightly licensed" use by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), if they were going to operate within 200 miles (if memory serves) of a legacy satellite earth station, there was an infamous situation in Dallas, TX where there was an abandoned satellite earth station. It was in the FCC's records as an active satellite earth station, but you could drive up to its gate and see that was not the case. Reportedly (I never saw it for myself) the big dishes were damaged beyond being operable, and the entire site looked abandoned - weeds, cracked pavement, vandalized buildings, etc. One canny large Broadband Wireless Internet Access (BWIA) service provider simply bought the site and then, "holding title" to that "satellite earth station" (license with the FCC), began using 3.65 GHz itself. Because there was this satellite earth station was active in the FCC's records, any WISP that wanted to use 3.65 GHz within 200 miles of that satellite earth station had to get formal agreement from the satellite earth station. The BWIA SP that owned the satellite earth station simply didn't respond to any such request. It was a smarmy business move, but it had the effect that the BWIA SP had 3.65 GHz all to itself in a major metropolitan area for the minimal investment in a distressed piece of property. "Distressed" because if the property was to be used for commercial purposes, all of the satellite equipment would have to be removed.
Thanks for reading!
Bellingham, Washington, USA