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FCC Opens Challenge Docket for C-Band Payment Disputes

A communications tower in the clouds
(Image credit: John Lund via Getty Images)

The FCC has opened a docket (“3.7-4.2 GHz Band Transition Clearinghouse Dispute Referrals and Appeals") for challenges to the FCC's decision on how much to compensate cable operators and broadcasters for their expenses in the repurposing of C-Band satellite spectrum for terrestrial 5G.

As part of the FCC decision to clear 300 MHz of the band--280 MHz for auction, 20 MHz for a guard band--the commission mandated the creation of a neutral relocation clearinghouse to collect disburse relocation payments, including those collected from new wireless operator licenses to pay the users moving off the spectrum to exit early.

Also Read: FCC Proposes Added Bucks for MVPDs in C-Band Move

It also provided for a challenge process in case folks take issue with a "cost estimate, cost invoice, or payment or cost-sharing obligation." The docket is where those challenges must be filed. All filings "are available to the public in their entirety," but with an opportunity to seek confidential treatment per FCC rules.

Cable operators and broadcasters, which use the spectrum to get programming to their stations and systems, are being compensated for the transition from their own earth stations either to new ones of some other technology--like fiber--rather than continue with the satellite delivery model.

Also Read: FCC Provides Guidance for C-Band Payment Clearinghouse

Cable operators have already said they think the FCC is lowballing the transition costs.

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.