FCC Extends Filing Deadline For C-Band Earth Station Operators To Claim A Lump Sum Payment

The FCC partially granted a request filed by the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) seeking an extension of time for incumbent earth station operators to elect the lump sum reimbursement described in the Final Cost Catalog Public Notice. The Bureau waived the deadline established by section 27.1419 of the Commission’s rules to the extent necessary to extend the lump sum election deadline to September 14, 2020. See Order for full details.

C-Band Satellite Transition

Just a reminder that the “C-Band” Satellite Transition is in the works.  The auction for the 3700-3080 spectrum begins in December.

In the near future, a portion of the C-Band will be repurposed for other users, which will require broadcast and other incumbent users to react. Broadcasters should have “registered” their satellite dishes with the FCC back in 2018; a list has been released by the FCC of those entities that have successfully registered… a few registration requests are still pending.

Those with registered antennas have three choices: 1) let the satellite “space station” owners (such as Intelsat and SES) handle everything for you, 2) do whatever needs to be done yourself and request reimbursement from the C-Band Clearinghouse, or 3) ask for a “lump sum” payment and do it all yourself, hoping that the money you receive will actually cover what needs to be done. If you submit your own invoices for reimbursement or elect to take the “lump sum” payment, you must still adhere to the deadlines that the satellite companies have to meet to be off 3700 – 4000 MHz.  Phase 1 has to be completed by December 5, 2021.

Note that the lump sum or reimbursement money may come well after you spend money to make the changes. The amount of lump sum payment depends upon the type of antenna system used and the numbers listed in Table III-E-1 of the FCC’s “Cost Catalog”, which can be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/07302324113729 .

The changes you have to make may include repointing your antennas if needed, installing LNBs, new filters, doing a channel change on your IRD, replacing or adding a dish, and so forth.

The space station owners do not necessarily know what satellite you are using or what program services you are taking. They have submitted a list of registrations that they think might be using their space stations, but satellite users change program providers fairly often, and those registrations were completed two years ago.  As such, they are reaching out by e-mail and telephone to the registered dish entities to confirm what their “universe” of responsibility will be. It would appear that responding to these requests would be in everyone’s interest.

Finally, know that a number of independent filings have been made with the FCC by several parties interested in changing some of the processes and procedures laid out by the FCC. It is not clear whether any of these will be accommodated, so keep your ears open and an eye on your e-mail to follow what is going on and how it may impact dishes you own or are responsible for.