FCC Does Not Stall C-Band Order

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UPDATE The FCC last week denied a petition for stay of the agency’s C-band order from a group of satellite operators. An appeal by ABS Global Ltd., Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales S.A., Hispamar Satélites S.A., and Hispasat S.A. is also pending in federal court.

The small satcos said that while existing satellite operators would be compensated for moving to the upper portion of the band, they won’t be. Eight incumbents now operate on C-band. They all have access to the entire band. The small satellite operators and ABS Global say the order “unlawfully modifies” their licenses to a portion of the band and “give[s] away billions of dollars” to their largest competitors. 

In its denial, the FCC said the satcos have not proved they would suffer irreparable harm from the changes. The companies are international satellite operators. They’re not eligible for relocation and accelerated relocation payments because they have no existing operations to clear in the C-band, and they don’t provide services to any incumbent earth stations in the contiguous United States, according to the FCC. It pointed out the relocation money is for satellite operators that provide C-band services to existing U.S. customers using incumbent U.S. earth stations that will need to be transitioned to the upper portion of the band.

The satcos argued the FCC order “will trigger a chain of events” beginning with the move — “that may be irreversible” and that will harm them by benefiting competitors. In its denial of a stay, the FCC said the petitioners were not likely to win their case.

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