Intelsat, SES and Telesat are likely not delighted with the U.S. Federal Communications decision to hold a public auction of 280 MHz of C-band for 5G development and deployment, rather than go with the aforementioned firms' desires and offered plan to engage in a private auction of this spectrum.
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 the aforementioned satellite companies, 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 U.S. 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.”
The CBA added a proviso that the repurposing of any C-Band spectrum, and any incentive compensation or cost recovery to be received by CBA members, is contingent upon the terms included in a final FCC order.
An FCC order that would approve a public auction certainly seems likely to occur during the agency's meeting early next year.