Advanced Television

FCC must keep “unwavering focus” on C-Band

July 15, 2020

The National Association of [US] Broadcasters (NAB) in a filing to the FCC said the transition plans submitted by the various satellite operators as to the impending changes to C-band transmissions said they were optimistic about the transition.

However, NAB cautioned the FCC to maintain an “unwavering focus on the protection of content distribution” over the US.

“C-band spectrum will only be timely cleared for flexible use if the Commission, satellite operators, programmers, and earth station users can ensure that content distribution is protected both during and after the transition,” said NAB.

“The Commission has a straightforward goal in this proceeding: protecting and preserving a content distribution system that serves hundreds of millions of Americans while also clearing additional spectrum for flexible use. While that goal may be expressed in a single sentence, successful execution will prove challenging and complex. The best way for the Commission to ensure a successful and timely clearing is to avoid unnecessary complications and maintain active oversight of the transition,” added NAB.

NAB also requested further clarification on the transition’s costs, and said in the filing that the figures already presented are “at a very high level of generality” and point out that Intelsat’s “Compression and Repacking Costs” are $400 million, and SES estimating that “Filters and LNBs” will cost $100 million and “Antennas” will cost $22 million.

“We take at face value the representation that these estimates are set forth in good faith and based on the best information currently available to the satellite operators. NAB knows that the satellite operators have been working with their programmer customers to develop accurate information concerning affiliates. Unfortunately, although the FCC recently released a preliminary list of incumbent earth stations, no stakeholder in this proceeding yet has a complete and accurate understanding of which earth stations are or are not registered,” stated the NAB filing.

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