NAB: ACAC Seeking ‘Handouts’ With C-Band Lump Sum Demands

(Image credit: NAB)

WASHINGTON—NAB sees the efforts of ACA Connects in attempting to stay and reconsider the FCC’s C-band lump sum payments as strictly a ploy to garner more money for its members, urging the FCC to reject all requests for review of the final cost catalog levied by ACAC.

The FCC is preparing to conduct the C-band auction, which will open up the lower 280 MHz of the C-band spectrum for wireless and 5G development, while moving the current occupants of that spectrum to the upper 200 MHz of the band. Those being relocated have different options for reimbursement, including a lump sum payment determined on average cost of all estimates.

ACAC, whose members include cable operators that would be impacted by the C-band auction,  has been fighting the FCC’s final cost catalog and lump sum payment amount because it did not include IRDs (integrated receivers/decoders) into the calculation, which it says would help with a transition to the more efficient fiber delivery. ACAC has been petitioning the FCC to review the cost catalog calculations again and recently made a court filing to stay the current lump sum deadline of Sept. 14.

NAB opposes these actions by ACAC, claiming the group is “seeking handouts” and that the association’s primary focus is to increase its memberships’ wealth at the expense of other parties and the overall goal of repurposing the spectrum.

According to NAB, the public notice determining the lump sum payment does include IRDs, but for satellite operators not the individual MVPDs that ACAC is petitioning for; NAB says this is the right determination. NAB also denies the ACAC accusation that the process of calculating the lump sum was flawed. NAB does not believe any of ACAC’s arguments hold water.

Rather, NAB views these actions by ACAC as “the latest step in ACA’s  ongoing quest to transform a spectrum reallocation process into a cash cow that will funnel funds from winning flexible use license bidders to ACA’s members.”

“Broadcasters, programmers, satellite operators and other stakeholders are about to undertake a complex transition that must be concluded in an ambitious timeframe,” the NAB wrote. “The commission’s focus should remain on ensuring that this process unfolds in an orderly and efficient manner that preserves content distribution and protects American viewers and listeners—not on maximizing payments to ACA’s members. We urge the commission to reject the Application for Review.”

The FCC is currently planning to conduct the C-band auction on Dec. 8.