Advanced Television

CBA: “FCC auction could take 13 years”

October 21, 2019

The C-Band Alliance (CBA) used a letter to Senator John Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and to Christopher Coons, a ranking member of the same committee. The letter was ostensibly to correct some misstatements made by two influential organisations.

One “misrepresentation” came from David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance who in his written submission to the Senate committee said that the CBA had no plan or guarantee that US taxpayers would benefit from a private (CBA-organised) auction of spectrum.

Not so, insisted the CBA. “The CBA has repeatedly and consistently committed to return a share of any transaction to the public as part of the implementation of its proposal. The CBA has been clear about this point, and we do not waiver from it.”

Williams also stated that US taxpayers should worry because of Eutelsat’s withdrawal from membership of the CBA.

Again, Not so, implied the CBA, stating: “Eutelsat itself has stated that it “continues to support the CBA’s proposal of employing a secondary markets approach to rapidly clear a significant portion of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band for 5G wireless services.”

The other correction came in response to a statement from Thomas Schatz of the Citizens Against Government Waste, who incorrectly suggest that CBA’s members have no “ownership” in the spectrum they use or entitlement to any of the proceeds from relinquishing that spectrum.

The CBA correction letter said: “In reality, the CBA’s members all have legally enforceable and protected FCC spectrum license or market access rights, and invested many billions of dollars maintaining their licenses, launching satellites, connecting earth stations, and undertaking decades of investments bringing video distribution services of unmatched quality to the continental United States.”

The final correction concerned the encouragement from Schatz for an FCC-organised auction being “administratively simple” and speedier than the CBA’s private auction. The CBA points out that a recent study from the CTIA [the Cellular Telecoms/Wireless Association] found that it was taking on average 13 years to reallocate spectrum for wireless use.

“Under the CBA proposal, by contrast, the C-band spectrum will be cleared and ready for 5G deployment within 36 months, and a subset will be cleared in 46 major markets within the first 18 months of an FCC order,” stated the ‘correction’ letter.

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