Advanced Television

FCC: “Focused on winning 5G future”

June 22, 2018

By Chris Forrester

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will “headline” its intentions to make more intensive use of the C-band (3.7-4.2 GHz) spectrum frequencies at its July 12th meeting.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai says that past victories do not guarantee success, and “Nowhere is this more evident than in our efforts to promote US leadership in the next generation of wireless technology or 5G. At our July meeting, the FCC will take another step to ensure that America continues to lead the world in mobile innovation.”

Chairman Pai’s comments have gone down extremely well with SES, which says: “We are pleased with the positioning of our proposal in the draft C-band NPRM released on June 21st by the FCC. Our joint proposal with Intelsat provides a breakthrough, market-based solution to protect the quality and reliability of the services we provide to users while accelerating access to spectrum for terrestrial mobile and 5G service deployments.”

“The level of interest shown by the FCC in our proposal encourages us to further our efforts to support all stakeholders, including our customers, in embracing our proposal as the most expedient solution. The satellite C-band ecosystem has played a key role for decades in delivering video and audio content and broadband services to millions of households, companies and institutions, and incumbent satellite as well as terrestrial operators have invested billions of dollars in this very efficient ecosystem. An industry-based solution developed by those who have invested heavily in C-band is essential to avoid disruption of national video and audio broadcasts, emergency services, and military applications in the US that all depend entirely on continued access to C-band,” continued the SES comments.

The FCC’s decision is proving crucial in the economic future of two giant satellite operators, SES and Intelsat (and chip-maker Intel) who are collectively backing the reassigning of some of the operator’s C-band satellite spectrum for 5G usage over the US.

“Our spectrum strategy calls for making low-band, mid-band, and high-band airwaves available for flexible use,” says chairman Pai. “Over the past few months, we’ve put that effort front and center.  In June, for example, we moved again on high-band spectrum: We finalized rules for use of the 24 GHz band, made progress on final rules for the lower 37 GHz band, and proposed to free up even more spectrum for flexible wireless use in both the 26 GHz and 42 GHz bands.  And in May, we launched a proceeding to allow more effective use of a wide swath of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band.”

“Now, headlining the agenda at the FCC’s July meeting is a proposal to make more intensive use of mid-band spectrum from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, commonly called the C-band.  Other countries are looking at this spectrum neighbourhood as a prime resource for deploying 5G, and the United States is moving forward here as well.  In response to a Notice of Inquiry we initiated last summer, stakeholders have come up with a number of creative ideas for making better use of 3.7 to 4.2 GHz.  And next month, we’ll vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks more detailed feedback on those ideas that merit further exploration.  That Notice of Inquiry also sought comment on new uses in the 6 GHz band.  I’m pleased to say that we plan to move forward with a rulemaking on that spectrum this fall.”

“When the Commission convenes for its next meeting on July 12, four teams will remain in contention for the World Cup championship. We don’t know which four teams those will be, although we do know that the United States, unfortunately, won’t be one of them. But when it comes to 5G, it’s imperative that we remain at the front of the pack. That’s why the FCC is focused on winning the 5G future through smart spectrum and infrastructure policies and why we’ll advance American leadership in 5G at our July meeting,” concluded Pai.

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