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FCC Extends Lump Sum Payment Deadline Two Weeks

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC has extended the deadline for when eligible earth stations must make the decision on whether or not they will elect to take the lump sum payment as reimbursement for their C-band transitions.

After the request by the Society of Broadcast Engineers for a deadline extension, the FCC has moved the deadline from the original Aug. 31 date to Sept. 14. The SBE had originally sought to move the deadline to Sept. 30.

As operators must choose between the lump sum payment option and being reimbursed for actual relocation costs, SBE argued that the original deadline was “insufficient” in allowing operators to review all the necessary elements in order to make an appropriate decision considering the Final Cost Catalog, which was released on July 31. Limitations because of the COVID-19 pandemic were also raised and acknowledged by the FCC.

“[W]e find that SBE has shown good cause for an extension, and that the public interest will be served by granting an extension to September 14, 2020,” the FCC said in its decision.

The commission did not believe extending the deadline beyond Sept. 14 served the public interest, however, as other parts of the C-band auction process must get underway so everything can meet the planned Dec. 8 start date.

“We believe that a 14-day extension best balances the need for more time raised by SBE with the need to facilitate a timely and efficient transition of the band,” the FCC concludes.

In a separate action, ACA Connects has been seeking a stay of the lump sum payment decision as well as a reconsideration, but no decision has been made on that and the idea has faced some backlash from content companies and broadcasters.

The C-band auction will facilitate the sale of the lower 280 MHz of the C-band spectrum (3.7-3.98 GHz) for wireless and 5G development. As a result, the current occupants of that band—many cable and satellite operators—are moving to the upper 200 MHz of the C-band (4.0-4.2 GHz).

The official FCC decision is available online