Cable Ops: C-Band Bucks Should Be Use-Specific

Cable operators want to make sure the FCC compensates them sufficiently for moving their earth station operations to make way for 5G wireless.

That came in comments on the FCC's proposed framework for freeing up 300 MHz of the C-Band satellite spectrum cable operators and broadcasters (TV and radio) use to receive programming from networks. The FCC plans to vote on the item Friday (Feb. 28).

Related: Added Benefit of C-Band Payments Offsets Costs

The FCC is proposing that it offer a lump sum payment to earth station operators (the aforementioned cable and broadcast satellite clients) based on the average costs of moving off the spectrum.

NCTA-The Television & Internet Association, is okay with that so long as the lump sum varies by degree of moving difficulty.

Average costs, said NCTA, "must acknowledge that different categories of earth stations are likely to incur different costs. Specifically, the Commission should provide that the lump sum payment for earth station operators with video operations should be based on the average cost to transition a video-enabled earth station. MVPDs and content companies use C-band spectrum specifically to deliver video services, and costs to transition these more complex operations are likely to exceed the costs to transition earth station operators that use C-band spectrum for non-video operations," it told the commission.

Related: FCC Should Fast-Track C-Band Relocation

As to how cable operators and programmers spend that money, NCTA wants the FCC to make it clear that "reasonable" equipment choices be deemed presumptively so for purposes of reimbursement. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.