On September 15, 2022, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Office of Engineering and Technology, and the International Bureau (collectively “the FCC”) released a Public Notice reminding grandfathered Fixed Satellite Service (“FSS”) earth station operators in the 3.6-3.7 GHz band of their annual registration requirements. Pursuant to section 96.17 of the FCC’s rules, qualified FSS earth station operators in the 3.6-3.7 GHz band may register for protection in the 3.5 GHz FSS database; this registration must be annually renewed. Registrations for 2023 must be filed no later than December 1, 2022 to be valid by January 1, 2023. Instructions on how to complete the registration process can be found at: https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/broadband-division/35-ghz-band-protected-fixed-satellite-service-fss-earth#block-menu-block-4.
The FCC has also established a one-time, 30-day grace period to satisfy those requirements for the remainder of 2022. The FCC has recognized that this is still a relatively new process and that some qualified FSS earth station operators may not have completed their annual registration for 2022 by December 1, 2021. Those operators that failed to timely file their 2022 renewals are accordingly granted a one-time grace period until October 17, 2022 to file their 2022 annual registrations to cover the remainder of 2022. After October 17, 2022 registrations that have not been completed may be deactivated or deleted, and the site will no longer merit protection by the Spectrum Access System (“SAS”). However, the FCC will continue to accept late-filed registrations and renewals, and the SAS will reinstate protections as soon as reasonably possible after the filing.
The notice also reminds FSS earth station operators to update their registration in the event of a change in any operational parameters listed in part 96. This includes removing or deactivating any registrations for inactive sites, including those sites that may have been taking offline as a result of the 3.7 GHz band transition process.
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