Inmarsat/Hughes object to SES/Intelsat C-band plan
July 2, 2020
By Chris Forrester
Inmarsat and Hughes Network Systems have joined Eutelsat in objecting to the FCC’s current C-band auction rules.
The pair say that the FCC’s incentive scheme favours Intelsat and SES and will give the two satellite giants an unfair competitive advantage.
Inmarsat and Hughes (and EchoStar Satellite Services) have written to the FCC saying they agree with Eutelsat’s previous argument and (already denied by the FCC) that the FCC should “clarify or reconsider” its C-band order “to ensure that reimbursements to C-Band satellite operators are limited only to reasonable and necessary costs related to relocation”.
Inmarsat and Hughes/EchoStar argue that the FCC does not “inadvertently unbalance competition or disserve American consumers”.
“The FCC should take steps to ensure that reimbursement payments are not used to subsidize the cost of deploying new satellite capacity in frequency bands besides C-Band, or C-Band or other satellite capacity that serves areas outside the contiguous US,” says the letter to the FCC.
Inmarsat and Hughes/EchoStar state: “[Intelsat/SES] should not be permitted to subsidise the development, production, and launch of new hybrid systems or experimental technologies, or to strengthen their competitive position in other geographic markets or by adding other frequency bands to their offerings, by exploiting Commission-guaranteed reimbursement while competitors without legacy C-Band operations are left to raise capital and accept risk according to usual commercial practices.”
The problem is that the current FCC plan inevitably does benefit SES and Intelsat and they can reallocate their somewhat redundant orbital assets once the pair have placed more than 10 new C-band satellites in position.