Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

DIRECTV Enterprises, LLC

Download Options

Released: December 31, 1969

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

DA 09-87

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

)
DIRECTV Enterprises, LLC
)
IBFS File Nos.
)
SAT-LOA-20060908-00100
Application for 17/24 GHz BSS
)
SAT-AMD-20080321-00077
Satellite at 102.825 W.L.
)
SAT-AMD-20080114-00014
)
)
Call Sign: S2712
)
Spectrum Five LLC
)
SAT-LOI-20081119-00217
Petition for Declaratory Ruling
)
)
Call Sign: S2778

DECLARATORY RULING

Adopted: January 16, 2009
Released: January 16, 2009
By the Chief, International Bureau:

I. INTRODUCTION

1. In this Order, we grant Spectrum Five LLC's (Spectrum Five's) petition for declaratory
ruling, in part, to the extent that Spectrum Five seeks a declaration that a satellite proposed by
DIRECTV Enterprises, LLC (DIRECTV) in the 17/24 GHz Broadcast Satellite Service (BSS) at
the 102.825 W.L. orbital location would not comply with the Commission's rules for such
satellites.1 As a result, we find that DIRECTV's application for a 17/24 GHz BSS satellite at the
102.825 W.L. orbital location must be dismissed as defective.2

II. BACKGROUND

2. The 17/24 GHz BSS service will introduce a new generation of broadband services to
the public, providing a mix of local and domestic video, audio, data, video-on-demand, and multi-


1 The Establishment of Policies and Service Rules for the Broadcasting-Satellite Service at the 17.3-17.7
GHz Frequency Band and at the 17.7-17.8 GHz Frequency Band Internationally, and at the 24.75-25.25
GHz Frequency Band for Fixed Satellite Services Providing Feeder Links to the Broadcasting-Satellite
Service and for the Satellite Services Operating Bi-directionally in the 17.3-17.8 GHz Frequency Band,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, IB Docket No. 06-123, FCC 07-76
(released May 4, 2007) (May 4 Order). In this item, the term "17/24 GHz BSS" generally refers to the
broadcasting-satellite service operating on space-to-Earth (downlink) frequencies in the 17.3-17.8 GHz
band and the corresponding Earth-to-space (uplink) frequencies in the 24.75-25.25 GHz band.
2 Spectrum Five's petition for declaratory ruling also requests a finding that allowing it to enter the U.S.
market with a non-U.S.-licensed satellite at the 103.15 W.L. would further the public interest. We will
consider this request in a further Order.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

DA 09-87

media services to U.S. consumers. In some cases, these services will complement existing Direct
Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services.3
3. In May 2007, the Commission adopted an Order establishing service rules for the
17/24 GHz BSS.4 In that Order, the Commission also determined how to address the pending
17/24 GHz BSS applications filed by four applicants, including DIRECTV.5 Specifically, the
Commission decided to treat all the pending applications as filed simultaneously.6 To implement
its decision, the Commission directed the International Bureau (Bureau) to release a Public Notice
shortly after the 17/24 GHz BSS rules become effective, inviting applicants to amend the then
pending applications to be consistent with those rules.7 The Commission stated that applicants
could amend their choice of orbital locations, consistent with the 17/24 GHz BSS spacing rules
set forth in Appendix F of the May 4 Order, to reduce the likelihood of mutual exclusivity.8
4. In a Reconsideration Order released on September 28, 2007, the Commission
provided space station operators additional flexibility.9 In that Order, the Commission recognized
that, until all conforming amendments were filed, an applicant requesting authority to operate a
full-power satellite at an offset location would not know whether another applicant has requested
authority to operate a satellite at an adjacent Appendix F location.10 The Commission decided to
provide applicants facing such a situation a second opportunity to amend its application. An
applicant seeking to operate a full-power space station with full interference protection at a
location offset from an Appendix F location by up to one degree may file a second amendment, if
another entity has filed a conflicting application for the adjacent Appendix F location or its
associated offsets.11 No other applicants were permitted to file second amendments.12 In
addition, second amendments were limited to: (1) requests to change the proposed orbital location
from the offset location or its associated offsets to the Appendix F orbital location from which it
was offset, or (2) requests to reduce power and to operate with reduced interference protection at


3 May 4 Order at para. 1.
4 May 4 Order at para. 1.
5 May 4 Order at paras. 140-146. The other three applicants were Pegasus Development DBS Corp.
(Pegasus), EchoStar Satellite LLC (EchoStar), and Intelsat North America LLC (Intelsat).
6 May 4 Order at para. 143.
7 May 4 Order at para. 145.
8 May 4 Order at para. 145. See also May 4 Order at App. F.
9 The Establishment of Policies and Service Rules for the Broadcasting-Satellite Service at the 17.3-17-7
GHz Frequency Band and at the 17.7-17.8 GHz Frequency Band Internationally, and at the 24.75-25.25
GHz Frequency Band for Fixed Satellite Services Providing Feeder Links to the Broadcasting-Satellite
Service and for the Satellite Services Operating Bi-directionally in the 17.3-17.8 GHz Frequency Band,
Order on Reconsideration, IB Docket No. 06-123, FCC 07-174 (released Sept. 28, 2007) (September 28
Reconsideration Order
).
10 September 28 Reconsideration Order at para. 34.
11 September 28 Reconsideration Order at para. 34.
12 September 28 Reconsideration Order at para. 37.
2

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

DA 09-87

the offset location.13 Again, the Commission noted that the Bureau will dismiss as defective any
amended applications that are not substantially complete.14
5. The Bureau released the Public Notice establishing deadlines for amendments to the
pending 17/24 GHz applications in December 2007.15 The deadline for the first amendments was
January 14, 2008, and the deadline for the second amendments was February 13, 2008.
Consistent with the Commission's Orders, the Bureau stated that any amended application that
was defective would be dismissed.16
6. DIRECTV filed its first amendment to its application for a satellite at the 102.825
W.L. location within the January 14, 2008 deadline. Specifically, because it planned to operate at
an offset orbit location, DIRECTV amended its application to reduce the power flux density
(PFD) of its proposed satellite as required by the Commission's 17/24 GHz BSS rules.17
DIRECTV did not file any second amendment, as was permitted by the December 5 Public
Notice
.18
7. On November 19, 2008, Spectrum Five filed a petition for declaratory ruling seeking a
finding that DIRECTV's application for a 17/24 GHz BSS satellite at the 102.825 W.L. location
is defective. DIRECTV responded to Spectrum Five's petition on December 8, 2008. Spectrum
Five filed a reply on December 19, 2008. For the reasons set forth below, we grant Spectrum
Five's petition in part.19

III. DISCUSSION

8. Spectrum Five objects to the methodology DIRECTV used to calculate the reduction
in power required for it to operate its satellite at its proposed offset location.20 Spectrum Five
argues that DIRECTV's supporting technical analysis improperly took into account atmospheric
loss when calculating the power levels under "clear sky conditions" pursuant to Section
25.202(w) of the Commission's rules.21 Spectrum Five argues that, when calculating power under


13 September 28 Reconsideration Order at paras. 34-35.
14 September 28 Reconsideration Order at para. 37.
15 International Bureau Establishes Deadline for Amendments to Pending 17/24 GHz BSS Applications,
Public Notice, DA 07-4895 (released Dec. 5, 2007) (December 5 Public Notice).
16 December 5 Public Notice at 2.

17 DIRECTV Amendment Application at 12-13.
18 Ciel Satellite Limited Partnership (Ciel) filed pleadings on August 1 and August 26, 2008, requesting that
DIRECTV's license be conditioned on its compliance with international coordination requirements.
Because we dismiss DIRECTV's application in this Order, Ciel's concerns with respect to DIRECTV's
application are moot.
19 Spectrum Five filed a supplement to its petition on January 12, 2009. Because we do not rely on any of
the arguments in that supplement, we do not discuss it further in this Order.
20 Spectrum Five Petition at 6-11.
21 47 C.F.R. 25.202(w).
3

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

DA 09-87

"clear sky conditions," atmospheric loss should not be included. This is because, according to
Spectrum Five, including atmospheric loss assumes that clouds and other moisture effects in the
atmosphere will limit interference in all places and at all times.22
9. In contrast, DIRECTV argues that Section 25.208 uses two unique terms regarding the
methodology for calculating PFD, "free space conditions" and "clear sky conditions." Based on
the use of these two different terms, DIRECTV asserts that they have two separate meanings.
Specifically, DIRECTV contends that "clear sky conditions" include atmospheric loss factors,
while "free space conditions" exclude those factors.23 Although DIRECTV concedes that it
should have excluded "cloud cover" from its analysis, it also asserts that removing this factor
from its analysis yields a result that is still below the maximum power limit specified in the rule.24
Therefore, DIRECTV asserts that its application is not deficient.25
10. In its reply, Spectrum Five disagrees with DIRECTV's assertion that the power level
of its proposed satellite complies with the Commission's rules for such satellites.26 Spectrum Five
claims that, because DIRECTV improperly relies on atmospheric loss factors in its analysis to
mitigate some interference, DIRECTV understates the interference effect of its proposed
satellite.27 As a result, according to Spectrum Five, DIRECTV's technical showing is not
adequate, and DIRECTV has not shown that its satellite will comply with the Commission's
power rules.28
11. We find Spectrum Five to be persuasive here. The use of atmospheric loss assumes
that clouds and other moisture effects in the atmosphere will limit interference in all places and at
all times. However, as Spectrum Five observes, these atmospheric effects vary over time and
location.29 Spectrum Five states that DIRECTV's reliance on atmospheric loss obscures the fact
that DIRECTV's satellite will be operated at a PFD level 13 percent greater than that permitted by
the Commission's rules.30 It follows that DIRECTV's 17/24 GHz BSS satellite proposed for the
102.825 W.L. Orbit Location exceeds the reduced power level required by the Commission's
rules for a satellite to be operated at an offset location.31 Therefore, DIRECTV's application is
defective, and must be dismissed.32


22 Spectrum Five Petition at 9.
23 DIRECTV Opposition at 2.
24 DIRECTV Opposition at 2.
25 DIRECTV Opposition at 1-3.
26 Spectrum Five Reply at 5.
27 Spectrum Five Reply at 5.
28 Spectrum Five Reply at 5.
29 Spectrum Five Petition at 9.
30 Spectrum Five Petition at 11.
31 See 47 C.F.R. 25.262.
32 See 47 C.F.R. 25.112(a)(2).
4

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

DA 09-87


12. Spectrum Five points out that its application is next-in-line for the nominal 103
W.L. orbit location, after DIRECTV's application is dismissed as defective.33 Spectrum Five
proposes to operate a Netherlands-licensed satellite at the 103.15 W.L. orbit location.34
Spectrum Five further proposes to operate at a reduced power level so that a 17/24 GHz BSS
satellite at 107 W.L. would not experience any more interference than it would from a full-
power satellite at the 103 W.L. orbit location.35 We will place this request on public notice, and
consider it in a future Order.

IV. ORDERING CLUASES

13. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, that the DIRECTV application for a 17/24 GHz BSS
satellite to be operated at the 102.825 W.L. Orbit Location IS DEFECTIVE and must be
returned to the applicant.
14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the petition for declaratory ruling filed by
Spectrum Five LLC is GRANTED IN PART, to the extent indicated above.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Helen Domenici
Chief, International Bureau


33 Spectrum Five Petition at 3-4.
34 Spectrum Five Petition at 2.
35 Spectrum Five Petition at 2 and Technical Appendix.
5

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.