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Eutelsat Wants to Limit C-Band Spectrum Funds to U.S. Treasury

WASHINGTON—Whenever, and however, funds are raised from the selling of C-band spectrum for the development of 5G, the money should first and foremost be used to compensate impacted satellite, broadcast and cable operators impacted, says Eutelsat; also, any revenue from the sales that might go to the U.S. Treasury should be no more than 50% of what remains after all compensation is met.

Those comments were revealed in an ex parte letter from Eutelsat to the FCC following a meeting between the two sides on Oct. 16.

In the document, Eutelsat gave its support for a market-based approach to reallocate portions of the 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum to be used for 5G that is overseen by the C-Band Alliance (CBA)—Eutelsat is a former member of the CBA, but announced its departure from the organization in September.

However, when it comes to where the funds raised from any selling of the spectrum are used, Eutelsat emphasized that the most critical areas are helping satellite operators that are impacted by any sales.

“Any approach adopted by the commission, including any potential alternative to the market-based approach, should provide all satellite industry stakeholders with appropriate compensation and sufficient incentives to facilitate a rapid, consensus-driven transition of this spectrum and minimize the risk of litigation and delay,” Eutelsat wrote.

Eutelsat recommends that proceeds first go to affected customers to assist with the cost of equipment modification or replacement, as well as incentives to complete the transition quickly and cooperatively. Only after those needs are met should any money be contributed to the U.S. Treasury, says Eutelsat, and no more than 50% of what remains.

Eutelsat highlighted other considerations into how proceeds may be allocated, including operators’ share of C-band satellite capacity with full or partial CONUS coverage, share of revenues of CONUS C-band services and the average remaining useful life of their C-band satellites with any CONUS coverage.

Eutelsat’s full ex parte letter is available here.