Advanced Television

More details to emerge on C-band from FCC?

December 11, 2019

On December 10th in Washington DC the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, was due to deliver a speech at the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) and observers were expecting some comments and his latest thoughts on C-Band, and the planned auction of satellite spectrum.

Today, December 11th, the US Senate’s Committee on Commerce will discuss the C-band related 5G Spectrum Act.

According to investment bank Exane/BNPP both events could create news-flow on the prospects for the auction of C-band spectrum over the US.

“We continue to argue that SES (+) share price does not yet fully capture the C-band monetisation potential. It is clear that all parties remain engaged on sorting out an auction structure as soon as possible,” says the bank.

CBA participants have met with the FCC four times recently and discussed with the FCC how the CBA could work cooperatively with the FCC to develop an effective plan to incentivise a swift transition of a portion of the C-band to 5G, achieve the best outcome for the American public, and protect the rights of its member companies and the interests of their users.

On December 10th, in a filing to the FCC, two TV shopping giants, QVC and HSN both told the FCC “[…] it is absolutely essential that the auction and 5G licensing process include mechanisms that will ensure that satellite operators remain at the table through their active and ongoing participation in the transition to and operation of the reconfigured band.”

“We believe these filings and statements underpin our view that satellite operators are going to be incentivised for abandoning their spectrum,” stated Exane/BNPP. “It also shows that the proceed allocation key is still a source of disagreement. FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel’s recent comments suggest Democrats (as evidenced in the Matsui bill) are in favour of incentivising satellite operators to free maximum spectrum (while the record is for 300Mhz now, we believe more could be freed in the medium term). This in turn suggests that Senator Kennedy (the only who does not want to incentivise satellite operators) faces competition from fellow Republicans Wicker & Thune and possibly more Democrats.”

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