NAB, NCTA Voice Support for Excluded C-Band Earth Stations

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WASHINGTON—With the C-band auction less than four months away, the NAB and NCTA are voicing their support for earth station operators that would be impacted by the planned relocation and asking the FCC to lend them a hand.

The FCC recently finalized its procedures for the C-band auction, which will see cable operators and broadcasters in the lower 300 MHz band of the C-band transition to the upper 200 MHz to make room for wireless services and the development of 5G. This includes identifying which earth station operators will be able to receive reimbursement from FCC funds for their transitions.

However, in a recent teleconferencing meeting with Nick Degani from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s office, the NAB and NCTA voiced their concerns for earth stations that were ruled not eligible for reimbursements because of failure to complete certain procedural requirements that were mostly based on misunderstandings.

Among the errors was a misunderstanding that some incumbent earth stations had to certify accuracy of information for earth stations that were already properly registered before C-band proceedings began, while other stations did not realize they had to register each individual antenna at a collocated site.

NAB and NCTA call these “good faith” errors and request that these stations be given the opportunity to correct their errors and be registered properly.

“This is critical both to ensure that content delivery can continue without disruption during and after the transition and to meet the commission’s promise that ‘incumbent space station operators continue to be able to provide substantially the same or better service to incumbent earth station operators, and that incumbent earth station operators continue to be able to provide substantially the same service to their customers,” the NAB’s summary of the meeting reads.

One of these earth stations that was left off the eligibility list, Cunningham Communications, similarly asked the FCC earlier this week if it could have its registration reviewed.