About Us - Frequently Asked Questions

What is EBS?

EBS is an acronym for Educational Broadband Service. 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 was formerly known as the Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS).

The change in nomenclature was made necessary because of the FCC Rules changes that permitted a broader use of the spectrum. 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 nonprofit 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 nonprofit educational entities for its educational purposes and 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 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 may build in your community.


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 pattern.


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, an 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 by the FCC?

According to records at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), your institution/organization has either applied for or was granted an Educational Broadband Service (EBS) License.


This was previously referred to as an 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.

What is ITFS?
ITFS, or Instructional Television Fixed Service is a band of twenty microwave channels available to be licensed by the FCC to local credit-granting educational organizations. ITFS has since been replaced by EBS, but the service expanded access to educational programming for many remote learners.