On September 8, 2023, the FCC released two Orders on the 3.7 – 4.2 GHz Band (“C-Band”) Relocation Payment Clearinghouse (“RPC”):
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”) denied AT&T Services Inc.’s (“AT&T”) Petition for Reconsideration or Clarification. In its Petition, AT&T asked the FCC to: (1) clarify that the current 20-day deadline for the filing of an initial notice of objection with the RPC should be tolled until an objecting party knows, or through reasonable diligence should know, of the basis for its objection; (2) reclassify WT Docket No. 21-333 as permit-but-disclose and specify that each appeal in the docket is a separate and independent restricted proceeding; and (3) modify the burden of proof in a multi-party dispute appeal to be always with the eligible incumbent seeking reimbursement.
WTB denied the Petition, concluding that: (1) maintaining the requirement that appellants first file a timely notice of objection with the Clearinghouse is consistent with the Commission’s stated goals for the proceeding and serves the public interest; (2) reclassification of the docket is not necessary as WTB has already clarified the petition for reconsideration and all related filings are permit but disclose; and (3) maintaining the current burden of proof in multi-party dispute appeals is consistent with Commission precedent and furthers the Commission’s objectives for the C-band transition.
WTB denied Mongoose Works, Ltd.’s (“Mongoose”) appeal of the C-band RPC’s decision, which adjusted downward part of Mongoose’s reimbursement claim based upon its August 12, 2020 lump sum election. First, WTB found that Mongoose failed to meet its burden of proof to demonstrate that the RPC made an incorrect determination when it categorized two earth station antennas as Receive-Only ES Multi-feed Antennas, not LMBEAs as Mongoose classified them in its reimbursement claim. WTB concluded that Mongoose’s attempts to categorize the antennas under alternative rationales were not supported by FCC rules, guidance or policies, and thus affirmed the RPC’s determination.
Second, WTB separately and independently found that the RPC acted in accordance with Commission rules, guidance, and policies in its decision regarding the two antennas, noting that the reimbursements were properly limited to reasonable costs necessary to transition existing C-band operations and were properly based on the average, estimated coast to transition the earth stations. WTB also noted that the RPCs use of Mongoose’s lump sum election date as the benchmark date to determine how the equipment was configured was proper.
Finally, WTB denied Mongoose’s procedural arguments finding that any pre-decisional communications were not dispositive as to the resolution of Mongoose’s claim and that the RPC’s failure to submit an attestation with its response was not bad faith.
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