FCC delays C-band agenda

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Many in the satellite industry had been anticipating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issuing some guidance this week as to its thinking – and possible decision timetable – regarding the reallocation of C-band spectrum over the US on January 30th.

The FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai, in a blog post, said that he had spent the week at the CES in Las Vegas. He said that the FCC’s focus will be other topics including the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the Video Relay Service and the FCC’s Modernisation of Media Regulation Initiative.

There should be some FCC proposals published around February 6th, but the next meeting of the FCC Commissioners is scheduled for February 28th, and this would be the next opportunity for the C-band proposals to be on the agenda.

Deutsche Bank, in a note, said this delay is a “small negative” for members of the C-Band Alliance and Eutelsat. “The delay in the decision prolongs the uncertainty over the value of the spectrum for the satellite operators,” says the bank’s note.

A pre-holiday note from Deutsche Bank, specifically referring to Intelsat, said the satellite operator’s management had been dealt an incredibly difficult hand. “The company lost its most promising Epic satellite in Intelat I-29e creating new business headwinds, has had trouble arresting the declines of network services and media despite investing in greater managed service offerings, and has seen a very meaningful public/political about-face on the potential of C-Band “net” proceeds.”


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