Court Orders FCC to Respond to ACAC C-Band Writ Request

(Image credit: U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit)

A federal appeals court has given the FCC until Friday (Sept. 4) at 10 a.m. to respond to a request by ACA Connects that the court stay the FCC's deadline for electing lump sum payments for moving off C-band spectrum.

Then ACAC has until Tuesday (Sept. 8) to respond.

ACAC last week filed a writ of mandamus, which is a request for emergency action from the court. 

ACAC wants the court to stay the FCC's Sept. 14 deadline for earth station operators, which includes cable operators, to elect a lump sum payment for moving to the upper portion of C-Band spectrum to make way for an auction of the lower portion for 5G. The original deadline was Aug. 31, but the FCC extended it. ACAC asked the FCC to stay the deadline and reconsider the underlying decision, and also asked for a decision on the stay by Aug. 26, which did not happen. 

Related: FCC Extends C-Band Lump Sum Payment Deadline

The three-judge panel that will be ruling on the writ request comprises judges Cornelia Pillard, Neomi Rao, and Robert Wilkins. 

Electing a lump some means "irrevocably waiving other compensation," ACAC has said, so it wants the FCC to get the payments right, something it said is not the case currently. "The deficiencies in formulating the lump-sum amount could indefinitely defer fiber-optic deployment that would allow upgrades and expansion of broadband access in areas served by ACA Connects’ members," it said. 

ACAC wants the lump sum payment deadline stayed while it asks the FCC to reconsider the underlying decision on what to include in the C-band relocation cost catalog for that lump sum.

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.