This means a rejection of the proposal from the so-called C-Band Alliance, for the satellite operators using the frequencies to sell the spectrum themselves to mobile operators and share the proceeds with the government.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated the best way to advance the freeing up of significant 5G spectrum and to generate revenues for the federal government, all the while protecting current C-band users, is via a public auction.
The C-Band Alliance (CBA), formed by Intelsat, SES and Telesa, published the following statement in reaction to this FCC announcement.
“The FCC Chairman’s indication that he intends to pursue a public auction of C-band spectrum is a significant departure from the CBA’s market-based proposal.The announcement does not address the critical involvement of the incumbent satellite operators in executing the complex task of reconfiguring and transitioning their networks. Nor does the announcement address the fundamental modification of the rights afforded by the existing FCC licenses held by the CBA members which would be required under a public auction approach.
“To ensure US national security interests, U.S. leadership in 5G innovation and the expected accompanying GDP and job growth, the full cooperation of the satellite operators will be required to ensure the successful clearing of the C-band while protecting the incumbent broadcast services enjoyed by millions of U.S. households.
“We will continue to work cooperatively with the FCC to develop an effective alternative plan and achieve the best outcome for the American public while protecting the interests of our users and the rights of our companies.”
Meanwhile, Eutelsat, who left the C-Band Alliance, supported the FCC decision. “Eutelsat Communications welcomes the decision of the FCC laying out a framework for the public auction of a portion of C-band spectrum between 3.7-4.2 GHz, which it regards as an important first step in expediting rapidly and equitably the clearance of C band frequencies for mobile 5G services.
“Eutelsat looks forward to engaging with the FCC in a fruitful and positive dialogue aimed at shaping an equitable and efficient process to facilitate the expedition of the auction and subsequent clearing of the frequencies, so that 5G can be rolled out in a timely manner throughout the CONUS.”