Intelsat clears C-band spectrum
February 1, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Intelsat says it has cleared its C-band frequencies in accordance with the FCC’s agreement. Intelsat was the largest holder of C-band licenses over the US and migrating its share of the spectrum meant squeezing 60 percent of its capacity used mostly by broadcasters into the remaining 40 percent of capacity remaining on its satellites. At the same time, the company had to protect incumbent Earth stations pointed at its satellites.
“Leveraging the company’s extensive program management capabilities and managed services experience, the Intelsat team went to work to begin the arduous process of seeding new antennas for satellite changes, migrating customers’ services into the upper 40 per cent of the C-band, and installing filters on every feed across the country. Additionally, to reduce the amount of bandwidth required to provide continuity of service for all of Intelsat’s North American programmers, to the company deployed more than 30,000 integrated receiver-decoders (IRDs) at earth stations throughout the country,” said Intelsat in a blog post.
The Intelsat team ultimately met the first FCC milestone with time to spare, successfully migrating 46 of the largest US cellular operators – with no disruption to their respective businesses – out of the lower 100 MHz and making it available to the FCC’s auction winners. So far, Intelsat has upgraded more than 250 antennas, and filtered another nearly 2,000 more, across 550-plus sites spanning the continental US.
The Intelsat blog adds that the C-band clearing program posed a management challenge unlike many the company had faced in recent memory, commented: “By deploying a dedicated team, allocating the necessary resources, and ensuring all stakeholders involved understood the goals and objectives, the people of Intelsat demonstrated their ability to execute against large, complex projects and meet tight deadlines and timeframes with precision and success.”