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Eutelsat, Telesat, and Claro Share C-Band Transition Plans 

By | June 25, 2020
Federal Communications Commission. Photo: FCC

Federal Communications Commission. Photo: FCC

Eutelsat has estimated its full cost to clear the C-band and relocate its U.S. customers at $170.9 million. Of that, $150 million is allocated for a single satellite replacement, and the rest for ground station activities. 

Eutelsat, along with Telesat and Claro, formerly Star One, laid out their plans to relocate U.S. customers from the 3.7-4.0 GHz band to the 4.0-4.2 GHz band on the FCC’s accelerated timeline in filings made June 19. The satellite operators must meet clearing deadlines in 2021 and 2023 in order to receive $9.7 billion in accelerated relocation payments. Intelsat and SES, the operators eligible to receive most of the accelerated relocation payments, have shared their detailed plans as well

Eutelsat said it has four satellites that serve the United States in the C-band. Eutelsat was not planning to replace EUTELSAT 113 West A, which needs to be deorbited by May 2023, but as available spectrum will be reduced by 60%, the operator will need to renew one satellite at that orbital position. The operator has not yet announced a satellite order. 

In addition, Eutelsat said it does not not expect to need earth station technology upgrades, such as compression encoding and modulation equipment. 

Telesat said in its filing it expects to complete the clearing in a single phase and plans to be finished with transition activities by June 30, 2021. The Canadian operator expects relocation costs to total between $1,085,000 to $1,561,000. 

Telesat said it does not need to order a satellite to maintain sufficient capacity. The operator plans for new filters for earth stations, but does not need any other technological upgrades. Its filing estimates that 56 earth stations will require retuning. 

Claro provides C-band service on its Star One C1 satellite, which will be taken out of service in mid-2021. It will be replaced by StarOne C2, which has already launched but is not authorized to operate in the C-band in the U.S. In order to continue to provide C-band service to a customer in the Miami, Florida-area, Claro said it has reached a contract with SES for capacity on its SES-4 satellite. 

Claro’s filing says the operator does not anticipate requesting reimbursement for transition costs. The operator will pay for filter installation and repositioning of any antennas located on the Florida earth stations under the agreement with SES, but does not intend to seek reimbursement.