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Auction 52

Direct Broadcast Satellite Service

DateAuction 52 began on
 and closed on
Round 2. (See PN DA 04-2158)
Winning Bidders2 bidders won 3 licenses
Bidding Days1
Qualified Bidders2
Licenses Won3
Net Revenues
Net Bids$12,200,000.00
Gross Bids$12,200,000.00
General information and associated licensing parameters are provided below. Public Notices provide specific information regarding this auction. This fact sheet includes:

Key Dates

Pre-Auction Seminar
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Window Opens
5/13/2004; 12:00 noon ET
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Deadline
5/21/2004; 6:00 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
6/18/2004; 6:00 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

Auction No. 52 offered a total of 3 licenses to use the Direct Broadcast Satellite ("DBS") service allocation in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band (service links) and 17.3-17.8 GHz band (feeder links). These licenses were for unassigned channels at orbit locations of 175° W.L. (32 channels), 166° W.L. (32 channels), and 157° W.L. (29 channels).


For the DBS service, it is more precise to describe licenses by the number of channels available at a particular orbit location than by the corresponding bandwidth of the frequencies. As stated above, for this auction, the numbers of channels available at the 175° W.L., 166° W.L., and 157° W.L. orbit locations are 32, 32, and 29, respectively. The International Telecommunication Union ("ITU") Plan for the broadcasting-satellite service in the frequency band 12.2-12.7 GHz in ITU Region 2 ("the Plan"), first adopted at the 1983 Regional Administrative Radio Conference, divides the 12.2-12.7 GHz DBS service link (downlink) and corresponding 17.3-17.8 GHz feeder link (uplink) frequency bands into 32 equally-spaced overlapping channels, with 12 megahertz-wide guard bands at the lower and upper ends of the bands. Each channel is nominally 24 megahertz-wide, and adjacent channels are spaced 14.58 megahertz center-to-center. In the space-to-Earth (service link) direction, Channel 1 is centered at 12.224 GHz, and Channel 32 is centered at 12.67598 GHz. In the Earth-to-space (feeder link) direction Channel 1 is centered at 17.324 GHz, and Channel 32 is centered at 17.77598 GHz. Under the Plan, odd-numbered channels at the 175° W.L., 166° W.L., and 157° W.L. orbit locations are transmitted in both directions using right-hand circular polarization, and even-numbered channels are transmitted using left-hand circular polarization

Permissible Operations

The ITU Radio Regulations define the broadcasting-satellite service as a "radiocommunication service in which signals transmitted or retransmitted by space stations are intended for direct reception by the general public."
DBS licensees may provide non-conforming satellite services at all orbit locations, including the western orbit locations, for downlink satellite services that meet the technical requirements for interference protection. DBS licensees are permitted to provide non-conforming services on as many transponders on any satellites for as large a fraction of time as they wish, subject to the Commission’s other requirements for DBS. Non-conforming uses are consistent with the ITU regulations that allow for fixed satellite service ("FSS") from DBS orbit locations if it does not exceed certain power levels.

License Period and Geographic Service Rules

License Terms
Licenses are issued for a ten-year term for non-broadcast DBS licensees and an eight-year term for broadcast DBS licensees.

Due Diligence
Licensees are required to complete contracting for construction of the satellite station(s) within 1 year of the grant of the authorization. Construction of the first satellite in the DBS system must be completed within 4 years. All satellite stations in a DBS system shall be in operation within 6 years of the grant of the authorization. In addition, DBS licensees must submit annual progress reports on system implementation pursuant to Section 25.210(1) of the Commission’s rules.

Geographic Service
As required by Section 25.148(c) of the Commission’s rules, those entities acquiring DBS authorizations after January 19, 1996, must provide DBS service to Alaska and Hawaii where such service is technically feasible from the authorized orbit location. DBS applicants seeking to operate from locations other than 61.5° W.L. that do not provide service to Alaska and Hawaii must provide technical analyses to the Commission demonstrating that such service is not feasible as a technical matter, or that while technically feasible such services would require so many compromises in satellite design and operation as to make it economically unreasonable.

Coordination Among DBS Licensees

DBS licensees located at the same orbit location are required to coordinate among themselves to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to any potential or existing interference between operations. Specifically, U.S. DBS licensees with channels assigned at the same orbit location are required to coordinate among themselves in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution regarding the location of their satellites and use of their associated frequency assignments, including tracking, telemetry and control ("TT&C") frequencies.

Other Services in the 12.2 - 12.7 GHz Band

The Commission has allocated the 12.2-12.7 GHz band for non-geostationary satellite orbit ("NGSO") FSS downlinks on a primary basis. The Commission has also authorized the Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service ("MVDDS") as a new service under the existing primary status fixed service allocation in the 12.2 12.7 GHz band. MVDDS licensees may operate in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band on a co primary non harmful interference basis with incumbent DBS licensees. An auction of MVDDS licenses concluded on January 27, 2004.

Other Services in the 17.3 - 17.8 GHz Band

The 17.3-17.7 GHz band is also allocated to the Government radiolocation service on a secondary basis, and to the broadcasting satellite service (space-to-Earth direction) on a co-primary basis beginning April 1, 2007. In addition, there are more than 800 FCC licenses in the Microwave Site-Based Service Group for operation in the 17.7-17.8 GHz band.
(These licenses can be identified using the FCC’s Universal Licensing System Advanced License Search feature to search for licenses in the Microwave Site-Based Service Group using frequencies in the range from 17700 MHz to 17800 MHz. )

Other Licensing and Service Rules

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