Intelsat, SES and Telesat told the FCC they would clear the lower portion of the C-band quickly and move to the higher portion of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band. They notified the agency by tomorrow’s deadline in order to qualify for a share of as much as $9.7 billion in incentive payments, reported Bloomberg.
Under the agency’s plan, the lower portion of the C-band would be auctioned for wireless use. Winners would pay the incentive funds for incumbent satcos that move quickly. That’s on top of a share of another $3.3 billion to $5.2 billion the feds would pay them for moving costs.
Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said the company was “committed to advancing – at an accelerated pace – America’s position in the race to 5G. We understand what’s required to successfully and quickly transition current users, while maintaining high-quality, uninterrupted broadcast to more than 100 million American homes and businesses.”
Intelsat, which has nearly $15 billion of debt, filed for bankruptcy protection May 14, as part of an effort to raise cash needed to prepare its spectrum for auction. According to its transition plan, over the coming months, Intelsat staff plans to work with customers and incumbent downlink earth stations throughout the continental U.S. to retune and repoint antennas, and install 5G signal-blocking filters.
But not all incumbent satcos are pleased with the FCC’s C-band order and some are fighting it. Some pushback has been the result.