FCC Seeks Comment on C-Band Moving Costs

The FCC is pricing out the C-Band exodus. 

The commission has come up with estimates of what costs it will need to cover for satellite operators and its head-end customers--including broadcast and cable operators--moving out of the 280 MHz of spectrum--plus a 20 MHz guard band--it is freeing up for its 5G spectrum auction. 

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is asking for comment on those prices. Commenters only have two weeks--until May 12--to weigh in. 

Incumbents will be moved out of the 3700-4000 MHz portion of the 500 MHZ C-Band into the 4000-4200 MHz portion of the band. 

Related: FCC's C-Band Auction still a 'Go' for December 

The C-band is the midband spectrum used by satellite operators to deliver network programming to broadcasters and cable operators.  

Related: Pai Defends C-Band Incentive Payments to Hill 

The FCC is reimbursing "eligible Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) space station operators, incumbent FSS earth station operators, and incumbent Fixed Service licensees" for "reasonable relocation costs." 

Earth station costs, for example, include for migration, filtering, repointing--everything from filter installations to having to use a ladder or bucket truck, from antenna shipments to de-icing. 

Those reimbursement payments are separate from billions of dollars in incentive payments that satellite operators could get for exiting the spectrum early. 

The C-Band order created a Relocation Payment Clearinghouse to oversee the transition costs per a final Cost Catalog. 

It is the preliminary cost catalog that the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released Tuesday (April 28), seeking comment on whether those preliminary categories and cost ranges were reasonable. It also wants comment on any costs or categories that may be missing.  

The FCC is also allowing for lump sums to various earth station owners, rather than actual costs and wants comment on the appropriate amount and class of earth station that should be eligible. 

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.