FCC Extends C-Band Lump Sum Payment Deadline

SBE had said Aug. 31 was not enough time, but had asked for longer extension

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has granted a brief extension of the Aug. 31 deadline for earth station operators to elect lump sum payments for their move out of lower C-Band spectrum so the FCC can auction it for 5G. 

The Society of Broadcast Engineers had sought an extension until Sept. 30, but the FCC only extended it to Sept. 14. 

Separately, the ACA Connects, which represents smaller and midsized cable/broadband operators, has asked the FCC to stay the deadline altogether and reconsider what it included in its catalog of reimbursable expenses under that lump sum payment. 

The FCC released that final cost catalog July 31 and set the Aug. 31 deadline. SBE on Aug. 17 sought the extension of the lump sum election deadline, arguing that given that an earth station operator must gather “extensive information about its operations, perform complex analyses, and secure internal corporate approvals,” more time was needed, particularly given the pandemic. 

“We believe that a 14-day extension best balances the need for more time raised by SBE with the need to facilitate a timely and efficient transition of the band,” the bureau said.  

It pointed out that the C-band auction [107] is scheduled to begin Dec. 8, 2020, and that applicants to the auction have to submit short-form applications “on or before 6 p.m. on Sept 22.” It said satellite operators “need to know which stations will select lump sum payments as they prepare to transition their operations into the 4.0-4.2 GHz band.”