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Of the eight direct broadcast satellite (DBS) system applicants originally granted conditional construction permits in 1982 for service within the United States, four have made sufficient progress in construction or contracting for construction to warrant the awarding of launch authority by the Federal Communications Commission. Action will soon be taken that could allow up to seven additional applicants to begin construction of their systems. As a result, satellite direct-to-home service could be available across the continental United States to home receiving dishes as small as 2-3 ft by early 1986. In the meantime, Congress has "legalized" home earth stations in bands allocated to the fixed-satellite service (FSS) under certain conditions. This paper describes the domestic regulatory policies and procedures, both technical and nontechnical, governing the DBS service in the United States. Consideration is also given to related regulatory matters which affect the future of DBS, such as technical standards, the growth of DBS-like services in fixed-satellite service bands, and frequency sharing between DBS and terrestrial systems.
Date of Publication: Jan 1985