Eutelsat intends to purchase a C-band satellite to replace the one taken for the FCC spectrum

Eutelsat Communications must acquire an additional satellite to avail C-band communications operations in the United States following the auction of its spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission.  

The France-based company spoke to FCC, saying that it requires a replacement for its geostationary satellite. This move is because of FCC choosing to clear the firm’s spectrum and use it for providing the 5G connection. 

FCC has included Eutelsat in its $9.7 billion plan so that they can hasten the acquisition of another satellite in the coming days for it to be in space by 2023.

Eutelsat projects an expenditure of $171 million to complete the incomplete part of the C-band and an additional $150 million to design and deploy the replacing satellite. The remaining $21 million will account for the Earth-based C-band facilities like signal detectors, antennas, and customer migration costs. 

Eutelsat is preparing a C-band switch plan as per the FCC requirements for this firm and firms in similar situations like Telesat, Intelsat, SES, and Claro. These plans will detail the operations involved in the transition to C-band technology.

Eutelsat reveals that one of its four satellites known as the Eutelsat-113 West A is pushing for renewal or else face the C-band auction by FCC. Eutelsat was hoping that this satellite will officially retire in 2023 without a substitute, having served the firm from 2007 to-date. However, the firm must replace the satellite to avoid shortages in its new mission of facilitating the 5G network.

The other firms in this ordeal have started purchasing satellites for this FCC transition. Intelsat and SES are buying ten satellites from Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and Maxar with the nearing FCC auction. They also have other negotiations to top up the satellites to the number that can surpass the shortages.

On the other hand, Telesat reveals that the only thing they must acquire for the mission is signal filters to ensure that customers on its Anik-F3 and Anik-F1R experience constant 5G cellular connection. As for Claro, they are opting to use the capacity on SES-4 satellite to cater for their customers who are currently on the Star One C1 satellite.

Finally, the FCC needs the C-band bidders to shoulder the expense of relocating Intelsat, Telesat, Eutelsat, Claro, and SES. Eutelsat is requesting the FCC to clarify the limitations of the free satellites, whether they will be back up satellites or not.