FAQ's About EBS
What is EBS?
EBS is an acronym for Educational Broadband Service. And,
Educational Broadband Service is the nomenclature that was
established in 2005 by the FCC to be used to
identify a band of frequencies/spectrum that were formerly known
as the Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS).
The change in nomenclature was made necessary because of the FCC
Rules changes in 2005 and years previous that permitted a
broader use of the spectrum and it was felt that ITFS was no
longer a descriptive enough term to describe the broader use
allowed for this band of frequencies/spectrum.
What is an EBS License?
Educational Broadband Service or EBS is used to describe
flexible use service, a specific band/block of microwave
frequencies, licensed to educational institutions or non-profit
educational organizations for uses that are designed to
accommodate a variety of fixed, portable, and mobile services
relating to education and instruction. Licensees can also lease
excess capacity to other entities so long as they meet
educational programming requirements
This license can be used to provide educational content to
schools and other educational locations using special
transmission and reception equipment.
Why is this EBS license important?
The license can only be held by non-profit educational entities
for its educational purposes but the license also offers
licensees the ability to access new mobile broadband services
and derive revenue.
This opportunity exists for your institution/organization
whether or not this license is currently in use at this time.
How can my institution use this license?
Your institution could send video content to schools/ classrooms
via an over-the-air broadcast method; or you could send video
and data to computers via the Internet carried on these
frequencies; or you could develop a revenue source from making
your excess capacity available to the commercial operator; or
you could obtain other telecommunications services offered by
that commercial operator in exchange for your excess capacity;
or some combination of the above.
The amount of services/revenue you may extract from this
arrangement is based on a number of variables such as:
your technology needs and plans, the size of your market, what
services you choose to use, who the commercial operator may be,
etc. The best way to obtain an idea of your options would
be to speak with other educators who have done this before and
the best place to find such expertise is the membership of the
National EBS Association operating in your state. A list
of NEBSA members in your state can be found on this web site.
What does an EBS license do for us?
A commercial telecommunications company may be willing to build
and maintain your licensed spectrum as part of the larger
wireless broadband system they will be building in your
In exchange for building and maintaining your system, they would
want the ability to use your excess capacity for their business
purposes. This type of arrangement can provide you with some new
broadband capabilities as well as revenue. However, you
will also have some responsibilities as a licensee.
What does the actual license look like?
It is a one or two page document from the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) called a Radio Station Authorization, printed
on a light gray or green paper with a basket weave background
It will list your institution as "Licensee" near the top and
will include among other things: a mailing address, a
"Call Sign", a "Grant Date", and "Expiration Date", a Channel
designation (usually preceded by an A, B, C, D, or G), and a
Frequency designation. If you do not have a License, you
may have a document that is called a Construction Permit.
Why is my institution being contacted?
According to records at the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC), your institution/organization has either applied for or
was granted and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) License.
This was previously referred to as Instructional Television
Fixed Service (ITFS) microwave television license in the past.
There are new FCC Rules that will require action on the part of
your institution as a licensee and you should be aware of your
responsibilities and options.