WASHINGTON—ACA Connects wants the FCC to pump the brakes on its C-band auction plans until it addresses an issue that the organization has raised regarding the lump sum payments the commission approved.
ACAC has filed two separate actions—one a stay of the deadline for earth station operators to decide if they will opt for the transition’s lump sum payment plan and the other an official reconsideration of the final C-band cost catalog—that are based around the decision to not include compensation for integrated receiver/decoders (IRDs) as part of the lump sum payment, a move supported by cable operators.
IRDs receive and decode satellite signals from programmers and are needed if cable operators move earth stations. Cable operators are looking to transition to fiber delivery, which they believe would be more efficient, and want the option to use the lump sum payment for this purpose, which would require the inclusion of IRDs.
In determining its final cost catalog, the FCC ruled that the lump sum payments are meant to be an approximation of the cost of moving earth stations, not technology upgrades; a decision that broadcasters and TV content companies agreed with. ACAC, however, disagrees.
“The commission directed that the lump sum must encompass the cost of ‘any necessary changes that will allow the earth stations to receive C-band services on new frequencies or from new satellites once space station operators have relocated their services into the upper portion of the band,” ACAC’s filings read.
ACAC argues that the FCC mistakenly classified “earth-station-bound IRDs” as a space station cost. In addition, there were other violations in the process, according to ACAC, including the commission not properly disclosing its methodology and assumptions; relying on a consultant that would not meet with ACAC; and imposing a schedule that forced it to determine the final lump sum amount before satellite operators filed “crucial transition plans bearing on the calculation.”
ACAC asks that the FCC make a decision on its petition for a stay by Aug. 20, so that the organization will have time to seek judicial relief if needed before the Aug. 31 deadline. With the review, ACAC is calling for a “new, properly supported determination.”
ACAC’s stay and review filings are available online through the FCC’s ECFS.
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