C-Band Earth Station Operators Get More Time to Make Money Choice

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UPDATE In a partial victory for the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the FCC extended the deadline for incumbent C-band earth station operators to choose a lump sum reimbursement.

The original deadline was August 31. The SBE asked for a September 30 deadline. The group told the Commission that to determine whether to choose the lump sum payment over actual relocation costs, an incumbent earth station operator needs to gather extensive information about its operations, perform complex analyses, and secure internal corporate approvals.  

COVID has upended station practices, making more time for the decision necessary, argued the SBE. The SBE also pointed out an extension would not affect the C-band repack or the upcoming auction of the frequencies in the lower portion of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band. 

The bureau agreed more time would help earth station operators make informed decisions and moved the deadline to September 14. It wouldn’t extend the deadline beyond that, however, because applicants for 3.7 GHz licenses are required to submit short-form applications to participate in Auction 107 on or before 6 p.m. ET on September 22. Also, satellite operators need to know which stations will select lump sum payments as they prepare to transition their operations into the 4.0-4.2 GHz band, said the FCC in its decision.

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