PSSI Global Services, LLC (“PSSI”) and ABS Global Ltd. et al. (“Small Satellite Operators” or “SSOs”) have each filed a Notice of Appeal under Section 402(b) of the Communications Act and a Petition for Review under Section 402(a) of the Act of the FCC’s C-Band Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification (“Report and Order”) (FCC 20-22) in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Each party’s two filings are substantially similar, but the Notices of Appeal concern the license modifications while the Petitions for Review generally relate to matters of general concern about the rulemaking.
On May 4, 2020 the court consolidated the four cases, (20-1142, 20-1143, 20-1146 and 20-1147), now under case 20-1142.
PSSI Notice of Appeal and Petition for Review (April 28, 2020): PSSI’s C-Band operations largely involve satellite transportable uplink/downlink trucks and flyaway systems that cater to live broadcasting events. PSSI highlights the continued demand for live programming events and the inherent need for flexibility in providing these operations, while arguing that the FCC’s decision drastically reduces C-Band spectrum availability which will disrupt the satellite broadcast industry. Each filing argues that the FCC acted arbitrarily and capriciously and failed to engage in reasoned decision making. The Notice of Appeal further argues that the modifications to the licenses exceed the Commission’s authority and are so extensive and pervasive as to render the licenses a nullity and eliminate the continued ability to provide service to the public. PSSI requests that the court vacate the Report and Order, or in the alternative, reverse and remand the Report and Order.
Small Satellite Operators Notice of Appeal and Protective Petition for Review (May 1, 2020): Filed by ABS Global Ltd., Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales S.A. (“ARSAT”), Hispamar Satélites S.A., and Hispasat S.A (the “Small Satellite Operators” or the “SSOs”). The SSOs argue that, contrary to past spectrum reallocation proceedings, the FCC does not provide incumbents with replacement spectrum, nor with monetary reimbursement for spectrum lost, rather, the FCC confiscates the spectrum under the guise of a “modification.” The SSOs recognize that the FCC provides approx. $15 billion to the larger satellite competitors, noting that at least half of the amount is payable Intelsat, “as an unauthorized ‘bailout’ of the struggling satellite behemoth.” The SSOs seek relief on the grounds that the Report and Order is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion, violates the Communications Act, the FCC’s regulations and precedent, the Constitution and is otherwise contrary to law. The SSOs requests that the court reverse and hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, annul, and set aside the Report and Order in its entirety. In addition, the SSOs submit that the Notice of Appeal is the proper vehicle to challenge the Report and Order and their the Petition for Review was filed out of an abundance of caution.
A briefing schedule has not yet been set. The Court Docketing Statement Forms and Statements of Issues to be Raised are due June 3, 2020.
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