The FCC has developed a process for how incumbent satellite companies on C-band would qualify for higher payments if they move earlier than the December, 2025 deadline.
In March, the Commission adopted new rules to make 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum available for flexible use through a Commission-administered public auction of overlay licenses. There would also be a 20 MHz guard band. The agency plans to move existing services out of the lower portion and into the upper 200 megahertz of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band.
Incumbents could opt to voluntarily move faster with a Phase I deadline of December 5, 2021, and a Phase II deadline of December 5, 2023. The satellite companies can make up to $9.7 billion in potential incentive payments from the FCC auction; winning bidders would actually pay the money, Inside Towers reported. The FCC also would allocate up to $5.2 billion to cover the costs of moving the spectrum users on top of the incentive payments.
Incumbent satcos must commit to speedier clearing by May 29, 2020, to give potential bidders “adequate certainty regarding the clearing date and payment obligations associated with each license should they become overlay licensees,” according to the order. They must commit to moving their services and their association earth stations out of the lower 300 MHz by the deadlines. They must also pay the administrative costs of the Relocation Payment Clearinghouse until the Commission awards licenses to the winning bidders in the auction. After that, the satco would be reimbursed for the money it has already paid.
Satcos that say they’ll make a speedier move but those that don’t within six months of the deadline won’t receive the additional payment.