Google presses for FCC to update IBFS database, free up lower C-band for other uses

satellite dish
Google says unregistered or incorrectly registered dishes are not entitled to protection. (Image: Pixabay)

Google is not letting the FCC off the hook when it comes to cleaning up the database that is supposed to reflect where ground-based satellite earth stations are located.

In a presentation (PDF) discussed during Google’s meeting with FCC staff last week, the company once again suggested the FCC clean up the International Bureau’s application filing and reporting system, called IBFS, by removing incorrectly registered satellite dishes and encouraging all operators to update their operating status.

Google satellite imagery has found that many earth station registrations across the U.S. are incorrect or outdated, a situation that could be cleared up through a public notice and review process. “IBFS data should be updated to protect actual earth stations—but not phantom registrations,” states Google’s presentation to the FCC.

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RELATED: Google studying 3.7-4.2 GHz band for variety of applications

Tracking the actual fixed satellite service (FSS) incumbents in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band should be a relatively straight-forward exercise since they are static and not constantly moving around.

The search giant, which benefits when more people have access to the internet, is also urging the FCC to revise its rules to allow for point-to-point (P2P) and point-to-multipoint (P2MP) links; under current rules, P2MP links are not allowed.

RELATED: Google and other databases likely to make spectrum sharing easier

The company told the commission to seek public comment on new approaches to the lower C-band—which is 3.7-4.2 GHz—including repacking fixed satellite services to a portion of the band and allocating the cleared spectrum for mobile uses; relocating fixed satellite operations to other satellite bands; and assigning fixed satellite operations to defined geographical areas where they would be less likely to receive harmful interference.

Google’s interest in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band is nothing new. The company has been studying different uses for the band and has advocated in the past for fixed wireless access.

In 2016, the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC) filed a petition asking regulators to update the rules for the 3.7-4.2 GHz band so that more of the spectrum can be used for terrestrial applications. The satellite industry immediately registered its opposition, saying the FWCC filing just reiterates stale and unsupported allegations that were brought up in 1999 about the “supposed adverse effect of full-band, full-arc licensing of fixed-satellite satellite service (FSS) earth stations on the terrestrial fixed service (FS).”

The satellite industry has since proposed an approach endorsed by Intelsat, SES and Intel that would create a coalition of C-band satellite operators that would make certain downlink spectrum available for licensed terrestrial use through secondary market agreements, freeing up about 100 MHz starting at 3700 MHz. They also want all affected parties, including earth station and fixed microwave operators, to be compensated for reconfiguration and relocation costs.

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