Should FCC Delay C-Band Auction?


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Satellite transmission company PSSI Global Services LLC and small satellite operators ABS Global Ltd., Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales S.A., and Hispamar Satélites S.A. and Hispasat S.A. are fighting the FCC’s C-band order in federal appeals court. They also seek a stay of the order at the Commission.

The FCC plans to transition 280 MHz of the 500 MHz satellite C-band (3.7 to 4.2 GHz) and auction it in December 2020 for wireless broadband and 5G uses. While existing satellite operators would be compensated for moving to the upper portion of the band, they “would not be reimbursed for the 300 megahertz they have lost, and their ability to deploy new services would be inhibited in the 200 megahertz of their license that remains,” say the companies in their appeal. 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.  

“What the Commission has done here is no mere ‘modification.’ In fact, the FCC has never simply erased perfectly good spectrum from an incumbent licensee without compensation, let alone taken 60 percent of an entire band while also restricting operations in the remaining 40 percent,” say the companies.

They seek a stay of the order pending judicial review. Public comments to the FCC on their petition were due yesterday and reply comments are due by June 1, to GN Docket No. 18-122. 

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