FCC clears SES C-Band Phase II plans

Satellite operator SES has been cleared by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its Phase II accelerated C-band clearing and relocation activities.

SES has completed all of its Phase II C-band clearing and relocation requirements and all transition activities are put forth in its transition plan.

Phase II activities included launching five new satellites to continue enabling the broadcast delivery of digital television to nearly 120 million TV homes, as well as providing critical data services, in the upper 200 MHz of the C-band (4000-4200 MHz). Repacking all of its C-band downlink services in the continental United States (CONUS) into the upper 200 MHz of the C-band and relocating all associated Incumbent Earth Stations throughout CONUS into the upper 200 MHz of the C-band.

In, addition, it will need to make necessary equipment changes to associated Incumbent Earth Stations in Conus to allow the operators of such Incumbent Earth Stations to receive substantially the same service during and after the transition as they were able to receive before the transition, including providing passband filters to block signals from the 3700-4000 MHz band to all associated Incumbent Earth Stations in Conus. Lastly, the company must modify telemetry, tracking, and control (TT&C) operations to receive telemetry above the 4000 MHz band and completing gateway consolidation to its Brewster and Hawley facilities.

The FCC declared Phase II relocation requirements in advance of the 5 December 2023 deadline and is now eligible to receive the accelerated relocation payment of $2.99 billion (before tax of 18-19%). SES expects the payment will be finalised in Q4 2023.

SES was cleared by the FCC for its Phase I accelerated C-band-clearing activities in 2021 and secured the first accelerated relocation payment of $1 billion in the subsequent year.

Ruy Pinto, CEO at SES said, “Beyond executing a major strategic project that enables the FCC to usher in the next generation of 5G connectivity and innovation in the United States, I am pleased to say we have placed our customers’ interests first and carefully transitioned our customers to ensure they will be able to continue delivering uninterrupted C-band broadcast and radio services to millions of American homes.”

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