Congressman Mike Doyle (Dem), and the leader of the US House Telecom Panel, is drafting a Bill that would see US satellite operators sell spectrum in stages over the next 10 years, with an initial spectrum sale scheduled for September 2022, and subsequent releases of bandwidth in 2029, accordng to Bloomberg
A note to clients from investment bank Exane/BNPP says that the comments support the C-Band Alliance’s scheme to restructure satellite bandwidth over the US for 5G usage.
“At a time when Charter Communications and the American Cable Association filed an alternative repacking plan, and when T-Mobile is re-pushing his own alternative plan, we find this comment very supportive of the CBA plans and underpinning the view that the CBA’s proposal is the preferred route on Capitol Hill,” said the bank’s note. “We also note that this view of an influential congressional leader is in line with our core assumption as we value C-band spectrum rights based on a 100 per cent probability of 180MHz sold in 2020, a 90 per cent probability of a further 100 MHz sold in 2025 and a 50 per cent probability of another 100MHz sold in 2030.”
“We also believe that spreading spectrum sale over a decade should help satellite operators release more than the currently offered 180Mhz as it would have them benefit from more advanced signal compression techniques thereby improving spectral efficiency for cable video distribution.”
“Finally, we believe that these comments are consistent with Doris Matsui’s bill (Matsui also seats on the US House Telecom panel) as they offer a political path for satellite operators to release more spectrum overtime and hence keep a larger share of proceeds as per Matsui’s bill intent. We had initially expected Doyle to co-sponsor Matsui’s bill but he hasn’t as he is preparing to introduce his own C-band bill. We believe both Matsui and Doyle are pushing towards a solution where satellite operators are incentivised to free up more spectrum than currently proposed over time.”
“The US Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce whose Subcommittee on Communications and Technology is chaired by Mike Doyle (and where Matsui is a member) will hold a hearing on spectrum policy on July 16th. We believe satellite operators share price are likely to be sensitive to congressmen comments around that event,” concluded the bank.
Unsaid by the bank is the likely increase in value of the satellite spectrum over the next decade. While the CBA is committed to releasing an initial 180 MHz of spectrum, and they have not commented on further releases of spectrum, there is an accepted understanding that more spectrum could be freed up over time – and 10 years could be acceptable to all sides.