How to Apply for C-Band Earth Station Waivers


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The FCC provided guidance for potential waiver requests to allow earth station operators to amend their registrations for additional, existing co-located antennas for interference protection purposes. The NAB and the Internet & Television Association (NCTA) asked the agency for detailed direction.   

NAB and NCTA told the agency the opportunity to make corrections “would be consistent with the Commission’s goals in the C-band proceeding and would help preserve content distribution to the public.” NCTA and NAB suggested the Commission limit eligibility to co-located antennas that are located within 150 meters of an incumbent earth station and the number of additional antennas that could be registered at any given site be limited to 25 or fewer.   

Because of the impact of this process on the upcoming deadlines for participation in the auction scheduled for this band, the Commission said it’s unlikely it can grant waiver requests filed after September 25. 

To expedite processing, the FCC is requiring applicants to identify on the first page of their waiver request whether it’s consistent with the limits proposed by the NAB and NCTA insofar as it would (1) involve only antennas located within 150 meters of an incumbent earth station; (2) would request a waiver for no more than 25 additional antennas per registrant at any given site; and (3) would seek interference protection only and would disavow any claim to reimbursement for the antennas for which a waiver is sought.

The FCC said waiver requests must: (1) be pleaded with specificity; (2) provide detailed information regarding the individual circumstances of the applicant and the registration information for each new antenna; and (3) otherwise comport with the Commission’s rules governing waiver requests. In each case, the agency expects to take into account the following:  

  • Whether the antenna would have been eligible for incumbent protection when the filing window closed on November 7, 2018; 
  • Whether the request involves a site or facility with one or more incumbent earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band (providing the specific Callsign, SiteID, and AntID of the incumbent earth station(s));
  • How far away the additional antennas are from an incumbent earth station (providing the specific Callsign, SiteID, AntID, and GPS coordinates of each antenna); 
  • How many additional antennas per registrant at any given site; and
  • Whether grant of the waiver would require reimbursement of additional relocation expenses to the applicant.

Given the timing of Auction 107 to ensure prospective bidders have complete information about incumbent operations in the band, waiver requests must be submitted in GN Docket No. 20-305 on or before Friday, September 25.   

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