|Summary of FCC 12-161:
This Report and Order implements ESAA as an application of the FSS. The FSS involves communication between satellites in orbit and earth stations in fixed locations. Advancing technology, however, has made it possible for mobile platforms to maintain antenna pointing accuracy sufficient to keep an earth station antenna focused on a satellite while maintaining communications and preventing interference with adjacent satellites. There are currently two mobile applications in the FSS: Earth Stations on board Vessels (ESV) and Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations (VMES), which provide satellite communications with vessels and land vehicles respectively. ESAA is the “third leg” of mobile applications in the FSS. By means of satellite antennas mounted on the exterior of aircraft, satellites will be able to communicate with mobile devices used by passengers and crew of those aircraft. The satellite antenna will carry the signal to and from the aircraft, and mobile technologies such as Wi-Fi will provide communications within the aircraft’s hull.
Since 2001, we have authorized, on an ad hoc basis, the use of GSO FSS space stations to provide wireless connectivity to airborne aircraft. These authorizations allow the provision of broadband services to passengers on a non-harmful interference basis, and several airlines are operating under the terms of those authorizations.
This Report and Order formalizes ESAA as a licensed application in the FSS by:
- Allocating ESAA on a primary basis in the 11.7-12.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) band,
- Allocating ESAA on an unprotected basis in the 10.95-11.2 GHz and 11.45-11.7 GHz (space-to-Earth) bands,
- Allocating ESAA on a secondary basis in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band (Earth-to-space),
- Requiring ESAA licensees to coordinate their operations with stations in the Space Research Service and the Radioastronomy Service to prevent interference,
- Adopting technical rules for the operation of ESAA systems to ensure that ESAA systems do not interfere with other FSS users or terrestrial Fixed Service (FS) users,
- Adopting licensing requirements and operational requirements for ESAA for both U.S.-registered aircraft and for non-U.S.-registered aircraft operating in U.S. airspace,
- Requiring ESAA licensees to operate consistently with the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), and
- Declining at this time to extend certain requirements concerning 1.5/1.6 GHz safety services to other frequency bands, including those used by ESAA.
This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requests comment on a proposal to elevate the
allocation status of ESAA in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band from secondary to primary, which would make the ESAA allocation equal to the allocations of ESV and VMES. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Report and Order implements ESAA as an application whose allocation status and technical and licensing rules are consistent with those of ESV and VMES. ESAA will allow licensees to bring broadband service to an underserved sector: passengers and crew aboard aircraft in flight.
FCC Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA) Order and NPRM
|Document type and status: FCC proceeding (Current)
Document date or date of hyperlink query: January 28, 2013
Fcc Docket(s): IB Docket No. 12-376, IB Docket No. 05-20