All plans for the C-Band auction will remain on schedule for now, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a motion to stay the auction by a group of satellite operators.
The motion was officially filed under PSSI Global Services LLC, but was also supported by ABS Global Ltd., Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitas S.A., Hispamar Satélites S.A and Hispasat S.A. They argued that the FCC initiated a chain of events — starting with the election by space station operators to relocate from the C-Band on an accelerated schedules — that would harm them by “benefitting competing space station operators that are eligible for relocation and accelerated relocation payments and depriving them of spectrum access rights without compensation.” In addition, they said the FCC did not have the authority to modify their spectrum rights, gave out to much money in accelerated payments and arbitrarily excluded them from getting those payments.
The court ruled that the “[a]pellants have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending appeal.” This means that the C-Band auction will currently continue as planned until the court hears the challenge on its merits and gives a judgement at that time. The court has asked both parties to submit a briefing by June 29.
“Today’s ruling is great news for American consumers and U.S. leadership in 5G,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I am very pleased that the D.C. Circuit rejected this attempt by small satellite operators with no U.S. operations in the C-Band to delay our efforts to repurpose critical midband spectrum. The FCC will continue to defend our order on merits, and I look forward to our C-Band auction beginning on Dec. 8.”
The FCC had denied a similar petition to delay the start of the auction by the same group of international satellite operators two weeks ago, according to Radio World’s sister publication Multichannel News.
The C-Band auction will see the transition of current C-Band operators move from the top portion of the spectrum as the FCC frees up 280 MHz for 5G. More information is available on TV Technology’s C-Band hub page.