The FCC's newest prior coordination procedures for the Broadcast
Auxiliary Service (BAS) took effect in October. The procedures minimize
interference between services sharing frequency bands.
With implementation of the new rules, prior frequency coordination
procedures are now required for all TV and aural BAS and CARS frequency
bands. The new rules specifically affect fixed BAS in the bands 944MHz
to 952MHz (950MHz), 2,450MHz to 2,583.5MHz (2.5GHz), 6,875MHz to
7,125MHz (7GHz) and 12,700MHz to 13,250MHz (13GHz). The procedures were
already in effect for aural and TV BAS stations in the bands 6,425MHz
to 6,525MHz and 17,700MHz to 19,700MHz. For the 1,990MHz to 2,110MHz
band, the FCC will continue to maintain procedures that allow for local
However, the FCC's new rules supplement local frequency coordination
procedures for fixed systems to require the submission of a
certification, attesting that all co-channel and adjacent-channel
licensees and applicants potentially affected by the proposed fixed use
of the frequencies have been notified and are in agreement that the
proposed facilities can be installed without causing harmful
interference to other users.
Requiring adherence to uniform frequency coordination procedures is
expected to reduce interference between services sharing a band and to
ease the transition from analog to digital technology.
Proposed frequency usage must be prior coordinated with existing
licensees, permittees and applicants in the area, and other applicants
whose previously proposed facilities could affect or be affected by the
new proposal in terms of frequency interference. Coordination must be
completed prior to filing an application.
Coordination involves two elements: notification and response. To be
acceptable, all applications and major technical amendments must
certify that coordination, including response from notified parties,
has been completed.
The new prior coordination procedures were supposed to take effect
on April 16, but were delayed for six months to give licensees time to
correct inaccurate information in the FCC's electronic database.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) had requested postponement
of the new rules so that licensees could correct information in the
FCC's database, including erroneous or missing receive site information
such as geographic coordinates, antenna height, and make and model
information. The mistakes were left over from licensing methods
antedating the FCC's current Universal Licensing System (ULS). The
flaws in those older licensing methods are evident from the fact that
about 29 percent of all fixed point-to-point BAS licensee records
included some mistaken information. Receive site information was not
even required prior to 1974, which is why it was missing in many old
licenses. The inaccuracies in the ULS would have seriously impacted
prior coordination efforts to avert interference.
The SBE also asked the FCC to waive the $120 filing fee for
modification applications filed solely to provide information missing
from the FCC's database, but the FCC denied that request.
No Tower Lights Equals $120,500 Fine
The FCC has issued a $120,500 notice of forfeiture to a tower
company for failing to light a new 1,000-foot tower in Richmond,
FCC inspectors found the tower unlighted for several days and
discovered that another tower at the site was unregistered. The maximum
possible fine was levied because the FCC previously had fined the same
company for failing to light a tower it owned in Florida. The company
had been cited for a total of three forfeitures in less than three
years for at least 13 instances of failure to comply with antenna
Radio stations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi must file
their renewal applications on or before Feb. 1, 2003.
Issues/programs lists for the last quarter of 2003 must be placed in
the public file on or before Jan. 10.
Martin is an attorney with Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC.,
Arlington, VA. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.