August 19, 2020
The Society of Broadcast Engineers on Aug. 17, 2020, filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Submit Lump-Sum Cost Reimbursement Payment Elections for C-Band Earth Station owners through Sept. 30, 2020. The current reimbursement submission deadline is Aug. 31, 2020.
C-Band Earth Station owners who registered their antennas and are eligible for cost reimbursement for the C-Band repack had the option to submit actual costs for reimbursement or apply for a lump-sum reimbursement as was published in Public Notice DA 20-802, released on July 30, 2020. That notice specifies a date of Aug. 31, 2020, for the lump-sum reimbursement election must be made and effectuated. The SBE suggests that this is an insufficient time period for broadcasters and broadcast engineers to satisfy the requirements of the Public Notice, and that an additional period of 30 days is required.
The Commission allocated the 3.7-4.0 GHz segment for auctionable 5G spectrum, and is holding the auction in December of this year. The Report and Order held that C-Band Earth stations in the fixed satellite service (FSS) would be relegated to the 200 MHz at 4.0-4.2 GHz, necessitating a repack of incumbent FSS Earth Stations operating in that spectrum. The Report and Order held that new 5G commercial mobile licensees will reimburse the reasonable relocation costs of eligible, incumbent FSS Space Station operators, incumbent FSS Earth Station operators, and incumbent Fixed Service licensees to move out of 3.7-4.0 GHz and into the 4.0-4.2 GHz segment. Through the FCC Wireless Bureau, FSS Earth Station operators are to be reimbursed for reasonable transition costs (through a published Cost Catalog) by the 5G auction winners.
While the Report and Order was released March 3, 2020, neither the Public Notice announcing the process, nor the Cost Catalog, was released until July 30, 2020, almost four months later. Because the Public Notice specified 30 days for a large number of broadcasters and broadcast engineers to evaluate, prepare and submit their election for lump sum payments, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept many from their workplaces, the SBE made the motion for the filing extension.
With the spectrum auction scheduled for December 3, 2020, and the relocation not scheduled until December 5, 2021, the additional 30 days for stations to file will not affect the repack process.
The SBE’s filing is posted at sbe.org/sections/documents/20200817_TimeExtensionSubmitReimbursementDocket18-122.pdf
On August 20, 2020, the FCC issued an Order (DA-20-9091A) that extends the filing time to Sept. 14. From the order:
In this Order, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) partially grants a request filed by the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) seeking an extension of time for incumbent earth station operators to elect the lump sum reimbursement described in the Final Cost Catalog Public Notice. The Bureau, acting on delegated authority, waives the deadline established by section 27.1419 of the Commission’s rules to the extent necessary to extend the lump sum election deadline to September 14, 2020.