Reminder: Deadlines Next Week for Biennial Ownership Reports and Filings to Preserve and Protect Broadcast Auxiliary Operations in the 12.7-13.25 GHz (13 GHz) Band

By admin Nov24,2023

Even after yesterday’s deadline for filing ETRS Form Three in connection with the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System back in October, there are two more deadlines coming next week that broadcasters should bear in mind.  As you prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, don’t forget these FCC deadlines.  Most broadcasters have received plenty of notice about the December 1 deadline for Biennial Ownership Reports.  The FCC has been pushing for stations to fill these out completely and accurately by the deadline (see this reminder issued by the FCC just yesterday), as the Commission uses these reports to get a snapshot of who owns and controls what broadcast stations.  The reports also provide information about ownership diversity as they request information about the gender, race, and ethnicity of attributable owners.  The reports are required for all full-power stations (both commercial and noncommercial stations are covered) and for LPTV stations.  For more about the biennial ownership report filing requirement and the importance that the FCC puts on these reports, see our 2021 article here.

A deadline that has not received as much publicity is the November 29 deadline for users of the “13 GHz” spectrum to certify to the FCC that their systems are being used where licensed, or to file applications to modify the systems to accurately reflect their current use.  The spectrum, which includes operations from 12.7 to 13.25 GHz, is used by some broadcasters for Electronic News Gathering and for Studio Transmitter Links.  There may be other broadcast auxiliary uses beyond ENG and STLs that are also conducted in this band, so check your operations to see if a filing is required.

Like the recent C-Band transition, the FCC is looking at repurposing parts of this spectrum for wireless users.  With limited exceptions, if a broadcaster does not by the November 29 deadline confirm with the FCC its operations or file a minor modification application to cover the actual operations by the station in this band, there is a risk that the existing operation will not be protected in any future repacking of the band, or that the operator will not be eligible for compensation for any required changes in its system to accommodate FCC changes in the use of the band.  See the FCC’s Public Notice released just before the Labor Day holiday) and our blog articles here and here for more information about this deadline and the required filings. 

These are important regulatory deadlines next week, so consult with your legal and engineering advisors if you are unsure if you have complied with the FCC’s requirements. 

By admin

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