In a series of tweets yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he has chosen a public auction to allocate the covet mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-Band, which is 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz.
“After much deliberation and a thorough review of the extensive record, I’ve concluded that the best way to advance these principles is through a public auction of 280 megahertz of the C-band conducted by the FCC’s excellent staff,” Pai said.
The move is designed to preserving the upper 200 MHz of the band for continued delivery of programming. Wireless Internet Service Provider Association VP of Policy, Louis Peraertz, applauded the Chairman’s move.
“A current use of C-Band is point-to-point common carrier or private operational fixed microwave links,” Peraetz said in a prepared statement. “The chairman’s statement is good news for the fixed wireless industry, and WISPA believes it leaves open the possibility that with a few technical rule amendments / changes, the FCC could permit P2MP by an automated frequency coordinator to protect delivery of programming and quickly bridge digital divides in rural areas.”
AT&T said it supports the approach outlined by Chairman Pai and said will work with the Commission on crafting the auction.
“The C-Band represents an important 5G opportunity for the U.S., but to unlock its potential a series of objectives must be met,” Joan Marsh, AT&T EVP of regulatory & state external affairs, said in a prepared statement. “As we have previously said, any path forward must chart a course toward a fair, open and transparent auction; compensation to C-Band licensees for relinquishing rights and relocating services; proceeds for the U.S. Treasury; and a clear and reasonable transition plan that ensures broadcasters, programmers and earth station operators that their services will not be interrupted and that their relocation costs will be reimbursed.”
The C-Band Alliance, which comprises of global satellite operators that operate in the band, criticized the chairman move for not addressing the involvement of the incumbent satellite operators, which are licensed in the band.
“To ensure U.S. national security interests, U.S. leadership in 5G innovation and the expected accompanying GDP and job growth, the full cooperation of the satellite operators will be required to ensure the successful clearing of the C-band while protecting the incumbent broadcast services enjoyed by millions of U.S. households,” according to a statement released by the association.