Earth Station Operators
Can I continue receiving C-band services in the 3.7-4.0 GHz band after the December 5, 2025 deadline or accelerated clearing deadlines within CONUS at my own risk of interference from 3.7 GHz Services?
No. Regulations prohibit the transmission of C-band satellite services in the 3700-4000 MHz band for purpose of receipt within CONUS after the aforementioned deadlines.
How do I know if any of the services I receive in the C-band are moving?
For more details, please contact your programmer directly. Additionally, please refer to Appendix C of the SES transition plan.
How can an Earth Station operator confirm that its Earth Station is an Incumbent Earth Station?
An Earth Station operator should consult with the FCC to confirm if its Earth Station is an Incumbent Earth Station. The FCC posted a Public Notice on August 3, 2020 with its incumbent Earth Station list. An Earth Station operator can also contact the FCC directly to determine if its Earth Station(s) are Incumbent Earth Stations.
How can an Incumbent Earth Station operator determine if its Incumbent Earth Station is going to be part of Phase I?
SES has indicated in its transition plan (final version submitted to the FCC on August 14, 2020) which Incumbent Earth Stations accessing SES satellites will require Passband Filters in Phase I and Phase II.
What are the benefits of being an Incumbent Earth Station?
Cost reimbursement: The FCC allows all reasonable and actual costs of transitioning an Incumbent Earth Station to be reimbursed through the Relocation Reimbursement Clearinghouse. Unless an Incumbent Earth Station operator elects to take the lump sum, the Satellite Operators will bear most or all of the costs of an Earth Station transition.
Protection from 3.7 GHz Service interference: The FCC has defined technical rules for 3.7 GHz Service licensees that include maximum power flux density (PFD) levels at Incumbent Earth Station locations. The combination of passband filters and maximum PFD levels reduce the risk of harmful interference from 3.7 GHz Service emissions into Incumbent Earth Stations. The requirements are set out in Sections 27.50, 27.53, and 27.55 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
In its transition plan, SES has included a listing of Incumbent Earth Stations accessing SES satellites, which may be adjusted based on further research and decisions by SES’s customers or Incumbent Earth Station operators. SES will handle transition for you unless you elect a lump sum payment.
Earth Station Antenna Registration
What will happen to unregistered Earth Stations during the transition?
The FCC has confirmed it will not allow antennas that were not registered in 2018 to now be registered. Some Earth Stations may be ruled not eligible for reimbursements because of a failure to complete certain procedural requirements that could be based on misunderstandings. Incumbent Earth Stations must certify accuracy of information for Earth Stations that are already properly registered before C-band proceedings. Some stations may not have realized that they had to register each individual antenna at a collocated site. These could be termed as “good faith” errors and request that these stations be given the opportunity to correct their errors and be registered properly.
SES has agreed to voluntarily install filters on any unregistered antennas collocated with Incumbent Earth Stations receiving services from an SES satellite at the same time we install filters on those collocated antennas.
SES will not install filters or take any responsibility for transitioning unregistered antennas that are not collocated with an Incumbent Earth Station pointed to an SES satellite.
If SES installs a filter on an unregistered antenna, does that change its standing with the FCC as an unregistered Earth Station?
SES’s decision to voluntarily install filters on unregistered antennas collocated with Incumbent Earth Stations receiving services from an SES satellite does not change the status of those unregistered antennas with respect to the C-Band R&O and therefore, they will not be eligible for interference protection from future licensed terrestrial services.
Will voluntarily installing filters on any unregistered antennas located at Incumbent Earth Station sites affect SES’s accelerated clearing certification?
Because SES is volunteering to take on this filtering activity, which is outside the scope of the obligations imposed by the C-Band R&O, the unregistered antennas subject to this agreement will not be considered part of SES’s accelerated clearing obligations or relevant for SES’s accelerated clearing certification.
Lump Sum Election
What does it mean that an Incumbent Earth Station can take a lump sum as determined by the FCC?
The Order provides for Incumbent Earth Stations to elect a lump sum payment equal to the average, estimated reasonable transition costs of Earth Stations in the applicable class of Earth Stations, as determined by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, in lieu of actual relocation costs. If an Incumbent Earth Station operator elects the lump sum payment, it is responsible for coordinating with the relevant Space Station operator as necessary and performing all relocation actions on its own, including switching to alternative transmission mechanisms such as fiber, and it will not receive further reimbursement for any costs exceeding the lump sum payment. It must also inform the appropriate Space Station operator(s) and the Relocation Coordinator that Earth Station migration and filtering will not be necessary for the relevant Earth Station site and must coordinate with operators to avoid any disruption of video and radio programming. Elections must be made by September 14, 2020 according to the process established by the FCC. https://www.fcc.gov/document/wtb-releases-final-c-band-cost-category-and-lump-sum-public-notice
What is the amount of the lump sum?
On July 30, 2020, The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) released the final C-Band Cost Category and Lump Sum Public Notice. With this Public Notice, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) released the 3.7 GHz Transition Final Cost Category and the optional lump sum payment amounts for eligible Incumbent Earth Station operators and announced the process and deadline for the lump sum elections. See link below for all instructions and information. The Deadline to accept the lump sum payment is September 14, 2020. https://www.fcc.gov/document/wtb-releases-final-c-band-cost-category-and-lump-sum-public-notice
What happens if an Incumbent Earth Station elects a lump sum?
If an Incumbent Earth Station chooses a lump sum, it must choose the same option for all Earth Stations that it has registered. For example, if a major cable operator chooses a lump sum for its main Earth Station, it must also choose a lump sum for all its registered Earth Stations, regardless of size, location, etc. The Earth Station will then need to coordinate with the Satellite Operator they are working with to complete the process. See the FCC website for official guidance on electing the lump sum: https://www.fcc.gov/document/wtb-releases-final-c-band-cost-category-and-lump-sum-public-notice
In addition, the Satellite Operator(s) responsible for service to that site is no longer responsible for transitioning that Incumbent Earth Station by the accelerated clearing deadlines. Any Incumbent Earth Station that is subject to the lump sum election can be deemed as transitioned by the responsible Satellite Operator. Once an Incumbent Earth Station operator chooses to accept the lump sum for all of its Earth Stations, all of the operator’s Earth Stations will be removed from the SES transition plan.
What happens if an Incumbent Earth Station does not elect a lump sum?
If an Incumbent Earth Station does not elect the lump sum option with the FCC, then one or more of the Space Station operators must provide and install needed equipment at the Earth Station to ensure a smooth transition for that site to receive only in the 3820-4200 MHz band for those Earth Stations included in Phase I and in the 4000-4200 MHz band for all stations at the end of Phase II. See the FCC website for official guidance on not electing the lump sum: https://www.fcc.gov/document/wtb-releases-final-c-band-cost-category-and-lump-sum-public-notice
SES is responsible for providing and installing needed equipment at any Incumbent Earth Station that has an antenna pointed to one or more SES satellites and did NOT choose the lump sum payment.
How does an Incumbent Earth Station’s election impact the role the Satellite Operator will play with respect to that station?
If an electing Incumbent Earth Station chooses to continue to operate in the C-band, it will need to coordinate with the Satellite Operator, who will provide it with the transition dates of the services on the satellite. That will drive the deadline by which the station needs to be ready for the transition by making sure it has the necessary antennas in place and has completed the re-tuning process of the receivers during that transition. If the Earth Station needs a technology upgrade, the Satellite Operator will schedule the shipment of integrated receiver/decoders (IRDs) to the Earth Station along with the shipment of the IRDs for those Earth Stations that do not elect the lump sum as well. The Satellite Operator will not be responsible for installing the technology upgrade equipment for electing Earth Stations.
Will all Incumbent Earth Stations receive technology upgrades to assist them with receiving signals that have been compressed on the satellite?
No. In its transition plan, SES noted that it only has one customer that will implement compression. Affiliates of that one customer will be contacted directly regarding the equipment needed for the Technical Upgrade. If you are not contacted by SES regarding a Technology Upgrade, then you are not affected by this requirement.
Where can I find the single payment amounts for technology upgrades?
Please refer to the FCC Cost Catalog, available here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-457A2.pdf
How are Earth Station on Vessels (ESVs) affected by the Order?
As set forth in Appendix A – § 2.106 Table of Frequency Allocations of the Order, the allowable reception in the 3700-4200 MHz is as follows:
When in port and docked within CONUS, an ESV can operate in the 4000-4200 MHz band and have protected status via frequency coordination.
When in port and not coordinated or when at sail, ESVs are authorized to operate in the 3700-4200 MHz band but without protected status. Note that if a passband filter is in use on the ESV, it will preclude the reception of services below the passband cutoff frequency.
Note that the use of a passband filter may reduce the effect of interference from 3.7 GHz Services on received satellite signals in the 4000-4200 MHz band.
Can I use any filter advertised as a “5G filter”?
These are not recommended for antennas pointed to SES satellites. SES plans to provide Passband Filters – built and tested to SES specifications and meeting FCC requirements as set forth in the Order – to all antennas at an Incumbent Earth Station location accessing SES satellites that have not opted for the lump sum payment. Frequencies used outside of the CONUS for 5G deployments in the C-band may be different than those used in CONUS; therefore, the filter specifications may not be adequate for CONUS.
How will the filter installations work, what is SES’s responsibility and what is the Incumbent Earth Station operator’s responsibility?
The SES-hired installation teams will call the Incumbent Earth Station operator to schedule a time window to install equipment, based on SES’s transition plan. SES will be responsible for providing the equipment required for the transition and will manage installation configuration and transition from existing service to new one. The Incumbent Earth Station operator is responsible for facilitating the installation process by providing any information required and coordinating installation with the install team.
Will SES pay for the filters?
SES is hiring contractors to identify sites needing filters. SES will pay for these filters and then be reimbursed by the FCC. SES has agreed to voluntarily install filters on any unregistered antennas collocated with Incumbent Earth Stations receiving services from an SES satellite at the same time we install filters on those collocated antennas.
Are the antennas and filters being provided for HITS customers regardless of opt-in/out of the lump sum reimbursement option?
If a HITS customer elects the lump sum, SES will not provide any equipment other than the IRD.
Does SES provide a list of vendors that will be contracted for radio affiliates?
Yes, SES is in the process of contracting with well-known, reputable industry vendors to complete the installation work for those incumbent Earth Stations who do not elect the FCC’s Lump Sum option.
Will SES provide a timeline for when they will move radio affiliates on the satellite?
As per our transition plan filed with the FCC, SES plans in general to move our radio customers on the satellite between November 1, 2020 and February 29, 2021.
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