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Eutelsat says FCC should cap C-band payout at $7bn

Establishing a maximum cost of transition ahead of the auction will allow bidders a certainty for total costs associated with 5G license acquisition, Eutelsat said in its FCC filing.

Satellite operator Eutelsat has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cap the payout to satellite providers that vacate US C-band spectrum for use by 5G mobile providers at $7bn.

No longer a member of the C-Band Alliance (CBA), Eutelsat told the FCC that the CBA’s suggestions are “fatally flawed” because the auction value of the licenses bears no connection to the cost of “comparable facilities” to those the satellite operators or earth station operators use today.

In a statement to BroadcastPro ME, Eutelsat spokesperson said: “We are now taking a direct active part in the discussions with FCC on C-band clearing and repurposing in the US. As per our ex parte published by the FCC last week, Eutelsat also explained that its Transition Proposal resulting in total incumbent relocation expenses should not exceed $7bn.”

The FCC has authority to require payments for adjusting to new airwaves configuration, Eutelsat said.

The CBA estimates that in order to clear 280 MHz of satellite spectrum around 60% of the current video, audio and other C-band services will need to transition.

In November, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the FCC is committed to a public auction of 280 MHz of C-band spectrum, and the agency intends to get the spectrum ready for auction by the end of 2020.