New Satellite Service By 2012?

The FCC has proposed allowing new satellite service in the 17 and 24 gigahertz band spectrum — a proposal which, if passed, could add new competition to satellite radio and other emerging broadcast industries, Billboard Radio Monitor reports:

 In an email exchange with Billboard Radio Monitor, one high-level engineering source wrote that “the ‘Ka-Band’ frequencies (18 GHZ to 40 GHZ) usually suffer from extreme susceptibility to rain-out and fog failure conditions. On the plus side, the satellite antennas (up in orbit) can send more spot-area signals to different parts of the [continental U.S.], potentially creating individual market coverage signals, which can’t effectively be done at 2.3 GHZ.”

Radio Monitor sources and industry observers estimate that the shortest possible timetable for a new satellite service to make its way through the FCC, onto the launch pad and into space would be five or six years.

The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for establishing a new satellite service was originally going to be part of the commission’s Open Meeting agenda but it was deleted at the last minute. Instead, the FCC’s commissioners handled the vote later in the day, with all five commissioners approving the NPRM.

An FCC press release about the Notice says the service “holds the potential of bringing a new generation of innovative satellite services to American consumers—providing a mix of video, audio, data and multimedia services to residential and business subscribers.”