The SES constellation comprises 70 satellites in orbit.  Photo: Guy Wolff / Maison Moderne

The SES constellation comprises 70 satellites in orbit.  Photo: Guy Wolff / Maison Moderne

SES has completed its C-band clearance and relocation plan, launched by the US Federal Communications Commission, and will receive nearly $3bn in pre-tax payments as a result.

In the United States, SES completed the first phase of its C-band clearance and relocation programme in 2021. On Thursday 10 August, the Luxembourg satellite operator announced that the US Federal Communications Commission had approved the second phase of this plan, which has now been completed. The aim of the process was to free up part of the C-band frequency range for reallocation to the in the United States. Having fulfilled its commitments in this regard, SES is now eligible to receive an incentive payment of $2.99bn.

To meet all of its obligations to clear and relocate the C-band--which contains the frequency range between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz--in the second phase of its project, SES has launched five new satellites “to continue enabling the broadcast delivery of digital television to nearly 120 million TV homes,” the company’s said.

It also consolidated its “continental United States (CONUS) into the upper 200 MHz of the C-band” and moved “all associated Incumbent Earth Stations throughout CONUS into the upper 200 MHz of the C-band.” SES also made “all necessary equipment changes to associated Incumbent Earth Stations in CONUS” to allow their existing earth station operators to receive the same service as before the transition. Finally, it has “telemetry, tracking and control operations to receive telemetry above the 4000 MHz band and completing gateway consolidation to its Brewster and Hawley facilities."

The deadline for meeting the Federal Communications Commission’s C-band release requirements is 5 December 2023. SES is thus clearly ahead of schedule. “We are incredibly proud to meet the FCC’s ambitious Phase II deadline ahead of schedule, and it speaks to the remarkable work and caliber of the SES team, our trusted partners, and our network of vendors over the last five years,” said SES CEO Ruy Pinto. The operator expects to receive payment of nearly $3bn from the US Federal Communications Commission’s Relocation Payment Clearinghouse in the fourth quarter of this year.

This article was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.