tanaonte - stock.adobe.com
FCC opts for public C-band auction
US telecoms regulator disappoints satellite consortium with decision to go to public, not private, auction of spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band to develop 5G
After a period of uncertainly and jostling by the interested stakeholder in the US mobile and satellite comms space, FFC chairman Ajit Pai has announced that the US will go for a public rather than a private auction of a section of the country’s C-band wireless spectrum to hasten the roll-out and development of 5G services.
The US telecoms regulator has been engaged in an ongoing programme to formulate rule-making related to spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, widely seen as a critical in driving the development of 5G wireless connectivity through the country.
As he was assessing the options, Pai said that he would make a decision on how best to utilise the C-Band by autumn 2019, and that he would base his decision on four principles.
These principles comprise making available a significant amount of C-band spectrum for 5G; making C-band spectrum available for 5G quickly; generating revenue for the federal government; and protecting the services that are currently delivered using the C-band, so they can continue to be delivered to the American public.
As Pai was doing so, members of C-Band Alliance, a consortium of satellite operators established to implement a market-based, that is private auction, proposed to the FCC that it would clear 300 MHz of C-band spectrum to support fast 5G wireless deployment throughout continental US to protect existing satellite services from 5G interference.
After what he called a “thorough” review, Pai has now decided, revealed in a letter to US senators, that the best way to advance his principles was through a public auction conducted by FCC staff.
“With a quarter-century track record of transparent and successful auctions, I am confident that they will conduct a public auction that will afford all parties a fair opportunity to compete for this 5G spectrum, while preserving the availability of the upper 200 MHz of this band for the continued delivery of programming,” he said.
Read more about mobile networks
- US comms giant Verizon will offer all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers free access to the forthcoming Disney+ direct-to-consumer service.
- Survey from Huawei and STL Partners calculates that 5G mobile technologies are set to create an extra $1.4tn in gross domestic product for worldwide economies over the next decade.
- UK broadcast regulator reveals plans to release airwaves to improve mobile services for customers aiming to help more areas get better comms services.
The decision has set shockwaves through those calling for a private auction of the spectrum, and in trading on 18 November 2019 after Pai’s announcement, shares in CBA member Intelsat had fallen by 17.5%.
However, at the same time, fellow CBA member Eutelsat was welcoming the move.