What Is EBS?

The Educational Broadband Service, or EBS, is a wireless digital communications service under the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC issues licenses for EBS stations to qualified educational and nonprofit organizations, for the purpose of furthering the educational mission of accredited schools, colleges and universities through data, video, or voice transmissions.

EBS stations are licensed to operate pursuant to FCC rules in Part 27, Subpart M of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations. 

EBS spectrum was formerly licensed by the FCC as Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) under rules developed in the 1960s that permitted educators to transmit multiple channels of instructional television programming for use in schools and workplaces. In recognition of the transition of instructional video programming to online delivery platforms, and the need for additional wireless broadband spectrum, the FCC in 2005 replaced the old ITFS video band plan and technical and operational rules with a new EBS band plan and technical and operational rules intended to encourage the spectrum to be used for wireless data transmission.

EBS Spectrum Band Plan

EBS stations are licensed in the 2.5 GHz band, which extends from 2496 MHz to 2690 MHz. There are 20 Educational Broadband Service (EBS) channels and 13 commercial Broadband Radio Service (BRS) channels, in addition to a number of small “guard-band” channels associated with certain EBS and BRS channels.

EBS Geographic Service Areas

Under EBS rules adopted in 2005, stations were transitioned to geographic area licenses, with each station having a Geographic Service Area (GSA), defined as a circle with a radius of 35 miles from the license’s reference point (which typically is the old video transmission site).

EBS Leasing

In 1983 to encourage fuller use of ITFS (now called EBS) the FCC adopted rules permitting (but not requiring) the excess capacity of ITFS stations to be leased for commercial purposes.