C-band Alliance gains strong support

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The C-band Alliance (CBA) of Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat told the FCC on October 29th that a market-based approach represented the fastest way to repurpose C-band over the US, essential if a speedy approach is needed to free up bandwidth for 5G telephony.

“The Market-Based Approach will minimise the need for Commission intervention and complex and lengthy oversight. Extensive FCC oversight of a Transition Facilitator will prove unnecessary and likely delay deployment of 5G service in the C-band Downlink,” said the CBA.

The phrase ‘market-based approach’ is another way of saying ‘let us sell our spectrum ourselves’. The alternative is for the FCC to get itself involved which, the CBA argues, would lead to “prescriptive mandates” which would be unnecessary, long-winded and likely to involve an army of lawyers.

The CBA said: “The Commission should reject alternative transition mechanisms, including overlay

auctions and variations on the incentive auction, which are slower, less efficient, and pose implementation challenges that the Market-Based Approach avoids. These alternatives require far more heavy-handed government intervention and would likely be tied up in litigation for years to come.”

The CBA scheme has fresh support from chip-set giant Intel, the IT Innovation Foundation, the World Teleports Association and GCI Corp also support the proposition.

Sami Kassab, an analyst at investment bank Exane/BNPP, in a note to investors on Oct 30th, says: “Importantly, the National Association of Broadcasters also uses supportive language, in our view, as it objects to frequency co-sharing. Overall, we consider these comments as supportive. We also note that only 16,500 C-band earth stations have registered to the FCC. Our current clearing costs assumed satellites would need to install filters on 33,000 C-band earth stations. This suggests repacking costs could be lower than our $1.9 billion forecast and reach around €1.1-1.2 billion. This in turn could add around €0.5 per SES share of C-band spectrum value.”


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