NAB On C-Band Transition: Satellite Operator ‘Modifications’ Urged

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The NAB on Monday filed comments with the FCC regarding transition plans submitted by eligible satellite operators for vacating part of the C-band spectrum, a swath of spectrum used by local radio and TV broadcasters every day to deliver news, sports and other popular content for their broadcasts.


What does the chief lobbying organization representing over-the-air radio and TV stations seek? Satellite operators need to make “certain limited modifications” to ensure a timely transition while protecting a content distribution ecosystem that “hundreds of millions of Americans” rely on today.

 

The NAB said in the comments filed Monday that it remains optimistic that the transition can be completed in a timely manner.

But, it is urging the Commission to continue to maintain an unwavering focus on
the protection of content distribution.

To the NAB, “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.”

The NAB took aim in its comments at “some MVPDs” who have asked the Commission to
include the cost of Integrated Receiver/Decoders (IRDs) in the lump sum payment available to MVPDs choosing to handle their own transition responsibilities or transition to other
technologies.

“Not only is this inconsistent with standard practice in the industry, it also introduces unnecessary risk into this process in the event that MVPDs take the lump sum with
visions of transitioning to fiber and then fail to complete work in time or encounter unexpected issues,” NAB’s legal counsel, led by Rick Kaplan, write. “The only reason this dispute has emerged is the efforts of some MVPDs to drive up lump sum payments because they see an opportunity to extract additional financial benefits from the C-band transition.”

Meanwhile, the FCC says it is taking at face value the representation that cost estimates outlined in SES and Intelset plans “are set forth in good faith and based on the best information currently available to the satellite operators.”

More broadly, however, the NAB cautions that these estimates appear to be based on
generalities about average costs and best estimates concerning the number of earth station
users.

— Editing by Adam Jacobson, in Boca Raton, Fla.

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