ACA asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today to stay the FCC’s Sept. 14 deadline for C-band earth-station operators to elect whether to accept lump-sum reimbursement payments as part of the transition of the spectrum.
The trade group said the stay is necessary to give the Commission time to review the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s decision that lump-sum payments to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) should exclude the cost of integrated receivers/decoders (IRDs) (TR Daily, Aug. 14).
ACA had asked the FCC to issue a stay to provide the Commission time to review the Wireless Bureau’s decision, but it has not. But last week, the Wireless Bureau extended the lump-sum payment election deadline from Aug. 31 to Sept. 14 (TR Daily, Aug. 20).
“If MVPDs are forced to make an immediate, irrevocable decision whether to accept the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s deficient lump-sum amount, they will have a strong incentive to forgo the lump-sum option and choose earth station relocation – even if upgrading to fiber would be less costly overall. The added public benefits from fiber upgrades would be lost. And once lost, those benefits cannot easily be salvaged,” ACA President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Polka said in a news release. “The FCC is short-changing earth station owners that elect the lump sum – after saying it would not do so – since the cost of compression/IRD equipment has been excluded from the lump sum, and IRD costs are substantial. As a result, the lump sum will not contain sufficient funding for many ACA Connects members that want to use the lump sum to employ fiber-based transport and retire some earth stations.”
In the petition for writ of mandamus filed today, ACA reiterated its complaint that the Wireless Bureau “consistently refused to disclose the assumptions and methodology underlying its determination of the lump-sum amount” and “based its determination on ex parte communications its consultant held with undisclosed stakeholders, but refused ACA Connects’ requests for similar access.”
ACA also said it “has no other remedy” than filing the petition because the lump-sum determination is not a final action of the Commission. —Paul Kirby, [email protected]
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