Thursday, February 6, 2020

FCC Chairman proposes accelerated timeline for opening C-band

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated draft rules with his fellow Commissioners that would reform the use of the C-band and make a large amount of spectrum available for 5G.

The C-band is a 500 megahertz segment of spectrum from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, which is now mostly used by fixed satellite companies to beam content to video and audio broadcasters, cable systems, and other content distributors.

Under the proposed rules, the lower 280 megahertz of the C-band would be available for flexible use, including 5G, through a public auction.  Existing satellite operations would be repacked into the upper 200 megahertz of the band with relocation costs covered by the winning bidders of the auctioned spectrum.

Chairman Pai argues that his proposal would quickly free up a significant amount of spectrum for next-generation wireless services, and it would generate significant revenue for the U.S. Treasury. The plans calls for an accelerated timeline, with the auction occurring in December 2020. 5G deployments could happen in the lower 100 megahertz of the C-band in 46 of the nation’s top 50 Partial Economic Areas by September 2021 and in the remaining spectrum by September 2023.