C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) Reminders: Registrations Due by October 17, 2018; Comments on Proposed Rules Due by October 29, 2018
C-Band Registration Filing Window Closes October 17, 2018
Cable operators, Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs), radio and/or video broadcasters, video programmers, and other Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) operators with downlink earth stations in the 3.7-4.5 GHz C-Band are reminded that they have until Wednesday, October 17, 2018 to register or license their unregistered/unlicensed stations that were constructed as of April 19, 2018 with the FCC’s International Bureau. Operators with outdated registration/license information also have until the October 17 deadline to update their information. For this filing window, which was opened on April 19, 2018, the FCC has waived the requirement for a coordination report.*
SES Reimbursement Program. To encourage and incentivize all C-Band operators to file needed registration/license applications and provide the FCC with a thorough record of C-Band operations, satellite company SES has launched a fee reimbursement program to reimburse filers’ FCC’s registration fees up to $450 per earth station for all new registrations completed between July 25 and October 17, 2018.
C-Band Rulemaking Comments Due By October 29, 2018
In July 2018, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) raising a plethora of proposals and rules for transitioning 100 megahertz or more of the C-Band to terrestrial wireless broadband use for 5G and other mobile broadband uses like Internet of Things (IoT). Among other things, the FCC detailed a market-based transition mechanism that would allow a consortium of satellite companies to serve as a “Transition Facilitator” that would negotiate with any interested terrestrial operators and incumbent users to clear the negotiated-for spectrum while also protecting the operations of the incumbent earth stations. The Transition Facilitator proposal, which was based on an Intelsat-SES proposal, has emerged as the lead proposal, according to a statement by Commissioner Michael O’Rielly .
Intelsat and SES have now formalized a C-Band Alliance along with Eutelsat and Telesat to promote this proposal and ultimately serve in the Transition Facilitator role. The C-Band Alliance has indicated that it could commence negotiations with 5G providers within 18 to 36 months from an FCC C-Band reallocation order. Any reallocated C-Band spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band would be licensed under Part 27 of the FCC’s rules for 15-year terms, based on the FCC’s proposals. Comments on the NPRM are due by October 29, 2018, and reply comments by November 27, 2018.
*Stations that do not provide coordination reports are not afforded interference protection, and the FCC has indicated that it could require such reports in the future. However, the FCC also placed a freeze on new and modified C-Band applications, which, if made permanent, could obviate the need for coordination reports.