Late yesterday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice announcing a freeze, effective as of April 19, 2018, on the filing of new or modification applications for fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth station licenses, receive-only earth station registrations, and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band, the downlink portion of the C-band. The freeze does not include applications for renewal or cancellation of current earth station licenses, or minor corrections required in the earth station file.

This freeze is part of the FCC’s ongoing consideration of possible changes to allocation in C-band begun with a Notice of Public Inquiry (NOI) last August (Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz, August 3, 2017). The stated purpose of the freeze is to “preserve the current landscape of authorized operations” while the FCC examines opening more of C-band for fixed terrestrial use.

In addition, and in response to comments to the NOI, the FCC is seeking a more accurate picture of current C-band use during this time. For this reason, the International Bureau has opened a 90-day window during which entities that own or operate existing (i.e., constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018) FSS earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band may file a license application or may register an existing receive-only earth station if it has not already been voluntarily registered. During this 90-day window there will be a temporary waiver of the frequency-coordination requirement in the application process. The FCC also encourages operators of earth stations that no longer exist or are no longer in use to update records in the International Bureau Filing System within this 90-day period.