Intelsat to FCC: We Can't Guarantee Video Quality Post C-Band Transition

International satellite service provider Intelsat has told the FCC that, given the way the commission has structured the clearing of C-Band spectrum for 5G wireless, the satellite company can't guarantee its video clients the same quality signal they had before. 

It also asked for some transition flexibility given the current pandemic. 

Cable operators and broadcasters use that spectrum for network programming distribution and remote-to-studio video. 

In a filing with the FCC, Intelsat said the FCC needs to revise its out-of-band signal protections, which Intelsat said will likely not protect earth stations from interference from wireless signals.  

And, whether it does so or not, Intelsat said the FCC has to clarify that so long as Intelsat has done its best to protect its customers' video signals, it can't be held responsible for interference from terrestrial wireless. "While Intelsat will do everything within its control to provide the same or better service to its customers, it cannot be held responsible for any interference that earth stations may experience from new flexible use operations post-clearing," the company said.

It said the FCC must clarify that point.  

Intelsat also told the FCC that "the unprecedented and ongoing global pandemic could result in serious challenges to meeting every transition deadline." It cited potential labor stoppages and vendor delays.

"The Commission should expressly allow for a waiver process if it becomes impossible for satellite operators to meet the deadlines adopted in the Report and Order that did not take into consideration the unexpected COVID-19 shutdowns and related challenges to a massive project like accelerated transition."

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.