Advanced Television

C-Band Alliance meets FCC Chairman

April 5, 2019

By Chris Forrester

Intelsat’s CEO Stephen Spengler and SES boss Steve Collar, along with senior officials from the C-Band Alliance (CBA), met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Aaron Goldberger, legal advisor to Chairman Pai on March 29th.

The CBA explained to Chairman Pai that the CBA is engaged in working collaboratively with industry stakeholders on the technical, operational, and logistical issues related to clearing 200 MHz of C-band spectrum within 18-36 months following a final FCC order. The CBA indicated that it plans to put additional details on the record related to its commitment to protect customers, its proposed transition plan, and its proposal for an open and competitive band plan.

The Parties also reviewed the status and timing of the C-Band proceeding. The CBA emphasised that their proposal would both quickly repurpose C-band spectrum to enable rapid 5G deployment and protect incumbent operations relied upon as the backbone of content delivery in the US.

On April 3rd the Alliance submitted to the FCC a comprehensive explanation as to how the CBA would protect satellite service quality for their clients. In mid-March, Intelsat and SES explained that they had sent a binding commitment letter (the “Customer Commitment”) to their respective customers where they agreed to “undertake, manage, and complete all necessary actions to effectuate” the customers’ migration following repurposing of a portion of the C-band for mobile terrestrial operations. The Customer Commitment further agreed to “earmark an amount equal to 120 per cent of the estimated spectrum clearing costs” to pay customer expenses related to the migration. Since then, the companies have further engaged their customers, received valuable feedback, and revised the Customer Commitment to reflect customer comments regarding how the commitment could be enhanced.

The document provided a full schedule of the transition-related expenses and costs that the CBA’s members (the “Operator Commitment”) would pay directly on behalf of their customers and the antenna operators, or for which they will reimburse their customers or the antenna operators.

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