Advanced Television

SES, Intelsat quarrel over FCC proposals

February 20, 2020

SES issued a statement in the early hours of February 20th which – politely – disagreed with its partner in the C-Band Alliance (CBA). SES said it is “disappointed” by Intelsat’s eleventh-hour attempt to capture a greater share of the FCC’s proposed incentive payments.

Intelsat made a submission to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 19th which complained about some of the FCC’s recent proposals regarding the auction of C-band frequencies over the US.

Intelsat complained about the 50 per cent ‘incentive’ payments allocated to it by the FCC, saying that Intelsat estimates that the payment should be nearer 68 per cent based on a study of 24,372 antennas using Intelsat capacity, and by a share of revenues should be 60 per cent. Intelsat also argues that the FCC’s Draft Order should be adjusted so that 45 per cent of the incentive payments should be paid under Phase 1 (the FCC wants to pay 25 per cent), and 55 per cent under Phase II (the FCC is proposing 75 per cent).

Intelsat, amongst other complaints, also said that the penalties for not meeting the FCC’s deadline are unfair and “punitive” and the timetable should be extended by at least 3 months. Amongst other observations it asked that the CBA itself is wrapped up now that the ‘market-based approach’ has not been endorsed by the FCC.

Intelsat also asked the FCC to now treat this new submission as confidential as far as the financial Appendices are concerned (which the FCC has done).

The SES response stated: “SES reaffirms its steadfast support for the FCC’s objectives to ensure global leadership in 5G and it stands ready, willing, and able to play a central role in the expedited clearing of a portion of the C-band. SES believes that there remains an important role for the C-Band Alliance (CBA), and that the CBA’s collaborative clearing plan is the most efficient path to clear the spectrum. That said, SES is prepared to act on its own in the clearing process if necessary, while protecting its customers.”

“SES is disappointed by Intelsat’s eleventh-hour attempt to renounce its commitments made to other CBA members and the Commission over the course of this proceeding, in aid of a transparent and egregious attempt to capture a greater share of the proposed accelerated relocation payments. Having worked collaboratively for a long period of time on this project, this sudden and recent change in direction by Intelsat is both disappointing and not legally compliant. SES will hold Intelsat responsible under its commitments,” added the statement.

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