Ku vs Ka

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by J. Harwood, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Apr 2, 2019 #1 of 16
    J. Harwood

    J. Harwood New Member

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    I'm new to the forum and thinking through some basic questions on DBS capacity, especially related to the STA that AT&T has filed to drift their DirecTV-15 satellite to 101. It looks like DirecTV has gradually relied less on Ku capacity vs. Ka, but that DirecTV-15 has lots of Ku transponders (though this may be the last satellite with Ku capacity). Is it possible that they are drifting 15 to 101 to provide additional Ku capacity to existing dishes as they phase out satellites over the next year? Further, I have seen that most, if not all, newer dishes are HD only and that most HD content is delivered via Ka: does this mean that DirecTV will ultimately have fewer operational Ku dishes as they provide less SD service? Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated, I acknowledge that these are not sophisticated questions so apologize for the naivete in advance.
     
  2. Apr 2, 2019 #2 of 16
    KyL416

    KyL416 Hall Of Fame

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    That move already happened a few months ago, and it was so they can take advantage of D15's mirroring abilities to provide a signal from the 101 slot to Puerto Rico. It also allowed them to sunset service from the 110 slot that previously served PR, and provide additional channels to Puerto Rico with 16 transponders at 101 instead of the 3 they had at 110.

    All the odd transponders from the 101 slot are now coming from D15 instead of D8.

    D15 is basically a jack of all trades satellite that could be used to replace other satellites in their fleet, so it has both Ka and Ku capabiltites, along with reverse band, and the ability to cover Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawaii via mirroring. When it was at 103 it did provide some temporary service to Puerto Rico via the Ka band while they were shifting things around, but those channels have since moved to other satellites like SW2 or were removed entirely since they can now take advantage of the mirroring abilities on D14 at 99 and D15 at 101 to provide additional channels and things like Music Choice, PPV Events, Sunday Ticket and Extra Innings, using the same feeds as DirecTV USA.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  3. Apr 2, 2019 #3 of 16
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    D15 isn't the last satellite with Ku capacity, Directv is launching T16 this summer (they refer to all their satellites as 'T' instead of 'D' now) which has a very similar payload to D15 in that has a full complement Ku, Ka lo, Ka hi and reverse band transponders. It will be going to 103, to take over the spot vacated by D15. They also have three Ku satellites at 101 (one of which, D8, is currently unused) and one each at 110 and 119, and lease transponders on one at 95. ALL of those will no longer be used by the end of the year.

    At that point Directv will only be using two satellites at 99, one at 101, and three at 103 - with the oldest of the bunch, D10, not really being necessary since its function could be replaced at any time by T16, so Directv would technically have a fleet of only five satellites, with two capable of Ku and only one actually used for Ku.
     
  4. Apr 3, 2019 #4 of 16
    J. Harwood

    J. Harwood New Member

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    Thanks KyL and slice, maybe I am confused about what is on T16 (not D!), looking at the footnotes for the application to the FCC to launch, it says "DIRECTV is not seeking authority to provide DBS service using the 12/17 GHz DBS frequency band at the nominal 103 W.L. orbital location, and its proposed limited use of the band for TT&C functions should not implicate the Commission’s freeze on new DBS applications." It also says that "DIRECTV hereby applies for authority to launch and operate the Ka-band and 17/24 GHz BSS payloads of the T16 satellite at the nominal 103º W.L. orbital location, and to launch (but not operate except for limited TT&C) the 12/17 GHz DBS payload on the spacecraft." Does that mean that the 12/17 GHz band, eg, Ku, will only be used on T16 for TT&C applications? If that is the case it seems like the only Ku capacity that DirecTV will have (once their other satellites are retired) will be D15. I guess it seems like a substantial portion of their capacity by April 2020 will be on Ka, not Ku.
     
  5. Apr 3, 2019 #5 of 16
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    The reason for that line about not using 12/17 GHz Ku band stuff is because it is launching to 103 and Ku broadcasts aren't permitted from 103. When T15 moved to 101 they had to say the same thing about the 17/24 GHz BSS/reverse band payload which isn't permitted to be used from 101 (they are licensed for Ka from 101 but customer dishes can't receive it so it isn't used)

    If T16 moved to 101 someday then they'd use Ku on it but not reverse band or Ka.
     
  6. Apr 4, 2019 #6 of 16
    inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I suspect d10 will get shut off very soon after t16 is operational and a lot of channel switching will happen and the majority of stuff will come from t16 instead of the other sat parked next to it for 103.
     
  7. J. Harwood

    J. Harwood New Member

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    That's very interesting, thanks for the insight. So if I am following this correctly DirecTV has requested an STA to drift T15 from 103 to 101 for 180 days, starting October 4. They claim that they will then drift it back to 103 or they would have to file another 180 day extension on the existing STA, which does not look like it is in the file yet. T16 is launching to 103: does this mean that DirecTV actually wants to keep T15 at 101? It seems like it would not make sense to have T15 and T16 co-located at 103. If DirecTV wanted to keep T15 at 101 permanently what would they have to file? As Ku operations are not allowed at 103 it seems like having T15 and T16 at 103 operating on Ka/RB would leave a lot less Ku capacity, especially if DirecTV is retiring other Ku birds over the next 12-18 months.
     
  8. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    too much guesses … it's hurt our brains ;)
     
  9. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Since Directv is launching T16 to 103, it is probably a safe assumption that they will file to make T15's move to 101 permanent once T16 is safely at 103. My guess as to the reason why they made it "temporary" was so it could be moved back to 103 more quickly if D10 suffered another failure like what happened about three years ago.

    I would assume Directv has already filed for another 180 day STA to keep T15 at 101, the filings don't immediately show up on the FCC site.
     
  10. J. Harwood

    J. Harwood New Member

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    It looks like the STA was granted 11/1/2018 and commenced on 11/4, which means it is good until 5/2. This means that DirecTV would have to file for another STA in order to keep T15 at 101. This would require a showing of "extraordinary circumstances," will be interesting to see how they show such circumstances, especially as they have represented to the Commission that they intend to move T15 back to 103 "in 2019." I would think that there are other processes for shifting satellites into different orbits vs. simply applying for STAs in succession, if they wanted to move T15 to 101 permanently why would they simply not follow that procedure?
     
  11. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    who could answer , would not post it in Internet
     
  12. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    They wouldn't need to show "extraordinary circumstance" to have a satellite located in a different licensed orbit. This isn't like applying for a STA to test a satellite at a non-licensed location, as typically happens after every launch.

    The FCC has no reason to reject an extension, they have no reason to care how Directv manages their fleet so long as they are complying their licenses. In the extension Directv will probably mention the upcoming launch of T16 and T15's location becoming permanent once it is successfully launched.

    Dish applies for a STA to use two non-licensed transponders from 61.5 every 180 days and has done so for years and the FCC never rejects that. If they required a showing of "extraordinary circumstance" they'd be rejecting those before they'd reject what Directv is doing.
     
  13. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Why? STAs are granted and renewed routinely. AT&T could get another 180 days and still move T15 before the end of 2019.
     
  14. J. Harwood

    J. Harwood New Member

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    Oh thanks for the clarification, I didn't know that this was common practice in the satellite space, I just read the reg and saw that it said "extraordinary circumstances," I guess that is interpreted pretty broadly. Here is the reg, maybe I'm wrong: 47 CFR § 25.120 - Application for special temporary authorization.

    Here's the text of the reg:

    "The Commission may grant a temporary authorization only upon a finding that there are extraordinary circumstances requiring temporary operations in the public interest and that delay in the institution of these temporary operations would seriously prejudice the public interest. Convenience to the applicant, such as marketing considerations or meeting scheduled customer in-service dates, will not be deemed sufficient for this purpose."

    Am I missing something?
     
  15. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    You are reading too much into the regulations. The phrase "special temporary authority" covers a very wide range of cases. After a satellite is launched it will typically go to an orbital location where the owner is NOT licensed, and no one else is currently operating (though there may be a license holder for that slot who is not operational at the time) and request a 30 day STA for in orbit testing. Those are the "temporary operations" the reg is talking about.

    Why would you think the FCC cares which satellite Directv uses to broadcast on its licensed frequencies at 101? The FCC's satellite regulations exist to protect operators from harmful interference, and to insure licensed frequencies are used for their intended purpose. They don't exist to unnecessarily complicate business decisions by satellite owners as to which satellites to use for which licensed orbital slot. The FCC doesn't care whether Directv uses T15 for Ka/RDBS at 103 or Ku at 101, if it wasn't for the incredibly minuscule chance of collision during the process of moving the satellite they wouldn't have reason to require permission at all.
     
  16. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Here's Directv's request for a 180 day extension of T15's special temporary authority. They still say they anticipate it returning to 103 later in this year "depending on business needs". So either they 'change their mind' after T16 is successfully launched, or T16's destination will be changed from 103 to 101 because they can't use both at 103 and must have one of them at 101...

    https://licensing.fcc.gov/myibfs/download.do?attachment_key=1656267
     

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