According to journalist Chris Forrester at the Advanced Television infosite, the FCC is still on track for a decision on C-band spectrum this autumn, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles on October 23rd.
He spoke of various initiatives to free up extra spectrum for cellular use, including C-band, and stressed that the FCC has its eyes on 300 MHz of spectrum (the C-Band Alliance is initially offering up 200 MHz).
“Next up is the C-Band, where the satellite licensees are willing to relinquish a good portion of the 500 megahertz between 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, while accommodating their customers receiving video and audio content in the remaining satellite spectrum. The Commission is close to completing its review, and an item should be voted in the next month or two to repurpose part of the band.”
O'Rielly continued, “As I set out early in my discussion of this band, we need a sufficient amount of spectrum, around 300 megahertz makes the most sense; a fair and transparent assignment process, which I believe can be accomplished quickly; and safeguards to ensure that current spectrum users – mostly broadcasters and cable providers – continue to get service. While not my priority, it is also possible that an auction can generate money for the US Treasury. To be clear, our primary objective should be to ensure that the spectrum gets into the hands of those who can put it to use as quickly as possible in order to compete not just domestically but internationally as well."
The pair were competing against Airbus Defence & Space for the order. Now they will bid separately for the order for a 300 satellite LEO constellation, which is said to be worth around $3 billion to the winning contractor.
Sandrine Bielecki, a spokeswoman for Thales Alenia, said that her company was actively bidding on the contract.
Telesat is looking to have its first portion of their planned fleet in orbit by 2022, with a full global service in place by 2023.