Advanced Television

Intelsat responds to SES’s “bombastic brief”

November 15, 2023

By Chris Forrester

SES might have received the FCC’s $3 billion (€2.76bn) in compensation for handing over its C-band satellite frequencies in October 2023. But the long-running arguments over how the FCC’s overall compensation was allocated continue to resonate between SES and Intelsat.

Lawyers for SES filed their argument to Intelsat’s bankruptcy court on September 28th seeking about $421 million in extra payment from Intelsat and as part of a 50/50 agreement between SES and Intelsat. Their argument has the support of a successful appeal in front of the District Court.

SES asked that the Bankruptcy Court’s “role now is to render a decision that is consistent with ‘both the letter and the spirit’ of the [Appeal] Court’s decision”.

Nevertheless, a counter argument from Intelsat’s lawyers was filed on November 13th and pulls no punches.

The Intelsat motion to the Court was blunt, stating: “SES’s typically bombastic brief disrespects the role of this Court as the sole factfinder, turning a blind eye to the 7-day trial in which this Court visually saw SES’s witnesses make one outlandish, credibility-destroying statement after another, and repeating the same tired rhetoric this Court heard and rejected after considering the parties’ contract and every piece of extrinsic evidence. And SES blatantly misrepresents what the district court did, and did not, do. The district court did not preordain anything about this Court’s factfinding—that would be legal error.”

“What the district court also did, however, was fully reject two of SES’s three theories,” states the Intelsat argument. “First, it rejected SES’s claim for unjust enrichment, agreeing that the parties’ contract controls this dispute. That renders much of SES’s recycled narrative simply irrelevant. Second, like this [bankruptcy] Court, it rejected SES’s view that the Consortium Agreement unambiguously encompasses the FCC-mandated payments, which are not the result of a market-based approach.”

Intelsat’s 55-page argument seems therefore to turn what many observers thought was a done and dusted verdict in SES’s favour into yet another legal chapter that might run and run for some time to come.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Business, Policy, Regulation, Satellite, Spectrum

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