Got Dishes? Take a Lump!

The FCC is clearing for auction some of the C-Band spectrum that broadcasters have used over the past decades. It seems they are in a bit of a hurry, so they’ve put into place some pretty good incentives to get out of the way of 5G telecom companies ready to bid.

KSDY-LD San Diego C-band dish, photo by Gary S.

If your company owns and has registered satellite dishes, the FCC has put together a catalog of reimbursable expenses you may incur to rearrange your C-band receiving habits. For example, if your programming syndicator is continuing its broadcasts without any interruption or change of frequency, you may only need a new inline receive filter. If you are part of a network that will need tighter compression, you might need a whole new receiver, along with that filter, plus the labor to install it. All the costs associated with those changes can be claimed, and your network provider, satellite owner, or your own corporate engineering crew can help with getting your organization reimbursed.

One interesting wrinkle is that in the interest of expeditiousness, the FCC is offering another route, and this is not to be ignored. They will pay a lump sum of $9,000 for a usable port to get you off the band. I installed a four-feed multibeam modification a few years ago for a client and now they are eligible for $42,000 as a lump sum, even if they only need to buy four passband filters for a total of about $2,500, including installation. That means they can pocket $39,500 without guilt or fear of prosecution. Pretty good, no?

What’s the catch? Well, the deadline for filing was pretty tight–August 31–but the FCC has extended that for two more weeks to September 14. If you are using an Intelsat satellite, you have probably already been contacted about this. Others, like NPR, Premiere Networks, or your TV network, has likely been in touch with you. If you are independent, contact your station attorney or vendors like Dawnco or SEG Wesco to see how to get your money.