FCC Proposes Earth Station Update Extension

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Public Notice regarding an extension of the deadline that TV stations using satellite newsgathering trucks will have to install a tracking beam so neighboring satellite TV operators can find them if they cause interference.

TV Technology reports that nearly three years ago, the Federal Communications Commission ordered the adoption of an identification scheme that would allow satellite operators to track down interference from temporary-fixed earth stations—a category that includes satellite newsgathering trucks. These stations were supposed to start embedding an Automatic Transmitter Identification System message into their subcarrier signal by September 3, 2016. This was to be achieved through an upgraded or new modulator, but those are few and far between as the deadline approaches, according to the FCC Public Notice seeking feedback on when to set the new deadline.

“Recent information from affected earth station operators and independent staff market surveillance, indicate that suitable external modulators have not become widely available,” the notice said. “Many earth station operators would therefore be unable to retro-fit their current transmitting equipment in order to comply… and instead would need to replace the equipment at a considerably greater expense than anticipated when the rule was adopted.”

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