FCC Amends Its ‘Vehicle-Mounted Earth Station’ Rule

Changes seek to promote the creation of more ‘spectrally-efficient broadband solutions in the Ku-band’
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The U.S. government is amending its vehicle-mounted Earth stations rules to promote the creation of more “spectrally-efficient broadband solutions in the Ku-band” without causing interference to fixed-satellite service providers and without exposing the general public to harmful radiofrequency radiation.
On Feb. 11, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission posted a Federal Register notice—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—that is a summary of the FCC’s “Order on Reconsideration” (FCC 13-1) that was adopted on Jan. 4, 2013.
The reconsideration order addresses three issues raised following the FCC’s adoption of the VMES Report and Order on June 30, 2009.
The first issue addressed by the reconsideration order eases the technical requirements for a certain type of VMES system. The type of system is a variable power-density VMES system, including modifying the off-axis effective isotropically radiated power-density provisions to enable those systems to operate their terminals more efficiently and effectively, the FCC says.
Specifically, the order grants the request to give variable power-density VMES systems “ALSAT”—a specific type of communications satellite—authority, the FCC says. The order also permits variable power-density VMES systems to operate terminals with varying levels of power-densities by defining N equal to 1 for those systems in the off-axis EIRP-density limits. However, the order declines the proposals to eliminate the requirement for variable power-density VMES systems to maintain power-density 1decibel below the off-axis EIRP-density limits. Rather than eliminate the 1-decibel requirement, the order concludes that VMES applicants should request a waiver of the 1-decibel requirement in order to allow those systems to improve spectral efficiency without compromising the FSS’ protection, according to the commission.
The second issue addressed by the order declines a request to clarify the antenna pointing error provisions in the VMES rules, the FCC says.
The third issue addressed by the order adopts the proposal, in part, to relax the cessation of emission requirement rule that is designed to minimize human exposure to radiofrequency radiation, the FCC says. The revision should promote operational flexibility and spectral efficiency in the Ku-band. At the same time, the revisions should continue to ensure that VMES operators protect FSS operators from “harmful interference and protect the general public from harmful exposure to radiofrequency radiation,” the commission says.
Click here to read the Federal Register notice