FCC to Allow C-Band Transition Plan Updates

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—With the C-band auction just a little more than two months away, the FCC has announced it is giving eligible satellite operators in the C-band a one-month window to adapt their transition plans now that lump sum elections have been finalized.

Broadcast and cable operators currently residing in the lower portion of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band are relocating to the upper portion, as the FCC will hold an auction for 280 MHz (there will also be a 20 MHz guard band)  of the lower band with the goal of helping 5G development. As part of this process, eligible Fixed Satellite Service space station operators, incumbent FSS earth station operators and incumbent Fixed Service licensees are set to be reimbursed for their transition costs.

The earth stations had the option to choose between accepting a lump sum payment for their transition or providing the specific receipts of their costs. Satellite operators, on the other hand, had a choice of taking an accelerated relocation plan, which required them to submit a transition plan—which included the details of whether or not the earth stations they serve would take a lump sum payment—by Aug. 14. Initially, any changes to these plans could only be made with the approval of the FCC.

However, earth stations were not required to decide on whether or not they would accept a lump sum payment until a month after satellite operators’ transition plans were due. This made it so satellite operators could not be fully accurate with what the earth stations they serve would do.

“Therefore, now that incumbent earth station operators have made their lump-sum elections, we expect that eligible space station operators will need to modify their Transition Plans to remove the incumbent earth stations for which the space station operators are no longer responsible for transitioning as a result of the lump sum elections,” the FCC said in its public notice. The commission also said it will provide an updated list of incumbent earth stations that reflect corrections and other updates to the previous version.

As a result of these actions, the FCC is now allowing satellite operators to modify their Transition Plans from now until Oct. 28.

For more information, the full FCC Public Notice is available online