Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WCS Coalition Rips the FCC a New One

The WCS Coalition ripped the FCC a new one today in its complaint about Sirius' repeater replacement at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. They felt that the FCC was obliged to put the application on public notice. Instead, the FCC rightfully granted the request in only 8 days. They admonished the FCC, citing several references.

[soapbox]How unreasonable can one get? For goodness sakes, they are tearing down the hotel. Is it so unreasonable that the FCC gave them an instant 30 day grant to move the repeater elsewhere? And, it is still on a non-interference basis. But there's no worry about that because the WCS licenses holders haven't built any thing out there to interfere with. Give it a rest, will ya! If this doesn't prove that they aren't anything more that a bunch of whiners, nothing does.

The FCC should do themselves a favor and deny their extension so that they don't have to put up with this anymore.[/soapbox]


Anyway, they make it clear that they intend to vigorously oppose the 180 day request that was filed simultaneously with the 30 day request. The 180 day request was issued a public notice.

Satellite Radio TechWorld has numerous objections to the WCS Coalition's letter to the FCC. First, they keep calling it a new repeater. It is a replacement repeater. They think that if they call it a new repeater often enough, the FCC will believe it.

Secondly, they think that such a request should be put out for public notice for everyone to comment. It is a replacement repeater, similar to the one already operation. The building is set to be destroyed. They have to have it out of there by December 15. Sirius doesn't have 6 months to debate this. If ever there was a need for an instant STA, this is it.

Thirdly, they think Sirius should justify why it can't do it with low power repeaters. Again, it's a replacement repeater. Why should they have to jump through hoops? The FCC has already approved the operation of this high power repeater. They do get one thing wrong about the repeater. The call it a 4,4000 Watt EIRP. Actually, the replacement repeater will operate with two sectors at 4,400 Watt EIRP each, replacing the single sector 8,800 Watt EIRP.

They state that Sirius should have known about this since the beginning of the year and there was plenty of time to have a public debate and that it is Sirius' fault for waiting until the "11th hour". Again, it is a replacement repeater. Who would have ever thought that it was such a big deal. That is precisely the way the FCC saw it.

They also object to it on a technicality that Sirius didn't specify average or peak power. Again, it's a replacement repeater. As Satellite Radio TechWorld understands it, it is still peak power. When XM tried to acquire WCS Wireless, they attempted to have it changed to average power. The FCC never ruled on it. However, they use Sirius' objection to the XM/WCS Wireless acquisition against it, saying that Sirius is operating, in some instances, at five times the levels it objected to for the operation WCS power levels.

Earlier, Sirius proposed rulemaking that would grandfather in the current satellite radio repeaters. They used this letter to rail against that as well, saying Sirius seeks to eliminate the on non-interference clause. If they ever want to see permanent rules, they will have to compromise somewhere. Satellite Radio is here to stay, more that we can say for any thing that the WCS license holders have in operation.

The WCS Coalition does make one very interesting statement: "Sirius provides the Commission with no explanation whatsoever as to why it cannot replace the existing facility with one or more repeaters operating below 2,000 watts peak EIRP, which it is free to do under its current STA without further Commission approval." The last phase is how Satellite Radio TechWorld interprets it. Basically, XM and Sirius have carte blanche to install repeaters under 2,000 Watt. So, why all the big deal with the XM repeaters under 2,000 Watt?

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