INDIANAPOLIS—The Society of Broadcast Engineers want the FCC to extend the deadline broadcasters eligible for C-band transition lump sum payments have to make the decision on whether or not they will take that process of reimbursement by a month.
The FCC is preparing the C-band auction—which will have current operators in the 3.7-4.0 MHz band of the spectrum relocate to the upper 200 MHz as the FCC makes the 3.7-3.98 MHz band available for 5G and wireless services development—for a Dec. 8 starting date. As part of the reimbursement process for stations forced to vacate their spot, the commission has a lump sum payment option that would be based on the average relocation costs of earth stations.
The FCC released its final cost catalog that details the lump sum payment amount and what is covered by it on July 30. A deadline of Aug. 31 was set for eligible operators to opt in to receive the lump sum payment.
However, SBE does not believe that a month is enough time for broadcasters and broadcast engineers to evaluate, prepare and submit their election for lump sum payments in what it calls a “complex calculation,” and as a result has asked for an extension until Sept. 30. SBE believes that such an extension would not impact the Dec. 8 start date for the auction, nor the first relocation deadline of Dec. 5, 2021.
“SBE will continue to educate its members about this process, the timetables and the necessary steps to take to ensure a smooth transition, but the commission has, simply stated, provided an inadequate amount of time for broadcast engineers and broadcasters, and other C-band earth station operators who are entitled to reimbursement for costs incurred in the repack to make the necessary determinations, evaluate their options and to complete the election process,” the SBE filing reads.
All of this, the organization points out, has only been made more difficult during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The complete SBE filing can be found through the FCC’s ECFS.
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