FCC’s Pai defends C-band scheme

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Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, has strongly defended the regulator’s plan for a public auction for C-band, and told the US Senate Financial Services Subcommittee that he was confident that the FCC’s plan would be accepted.

One senate member (Sen Chris Coons, Dem-Delaware) asked Pai how certain he was that there would not be legal actions and consequences. Pai said he believed the payments on offer (a total of $9.7 billion) which the satellite carriers must accept by May 29th, would work. He also said he was confident the FCC had the authority to commit to the incentive payments.

However, a long-time critic of the scheme (FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel) stated that legal challenges would “definitely” happen, and that such actions would delay the scheme’s frequency clearing.

A colleague, Senator John Kennedy (Rep, Louisiana) stated that the FCC will be sued and that the smaller satellite operators would be suing “the bejeesus” out of the Commission.

The ‘5G Action Now’ lobby group, in a March 11th statement, criticised the negative comments from Congress and Senator Kennedy specifically, and questioned why Sen. Kennedy wanted to hold up deployment of 5G in the US.

The lobby group said: “That the United States must win this race is seen by many experts as vital for American economic leadership in a new industry that is expected to deliver some $500 billion of consumer and business services. The new technology may even be more critical for American defense. 5G is about more than faster phones. This fast-wireless technology will be the central nervous system of the future economy. Almost everything will connect to it, such as cars, phones, infrastructure, and millions of “internet of things” devices. All of the data that is generated by these connections must be secured.”


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