The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is backing a proposal to allow mobile services to tap into C-band spectrum currently used by radio and TV stations that would carve off a portion of what the wireless companies want and leave some spectrum for current users, according to a report in InsideRadio.
The C-Band Alliance, an industry group made up of satellite providers Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat, has proposed its members voluntarily auction 200 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum to wireless carriers to be used for terrestrial 5G networks. In exchange, the satellite companies could use the proceeds to help pay for eight new satellites. That’s less than the wireless companies want but by doing so the C-Band Alliance said in a filing with the FCC that it’s a way to speed up the process while also preventing disruption to radio and television stations. The C-Band Alliance proposal would also migrate 5G services to the upper 300 MHz of C-Band.
NAB Vice President of Strategic Planning Patrick McFadden said that “consensus” proposal would allow the remaining 300 MHz to accommodate broadcasters’ programming distribution.
“A 200/300 split has emerged as a bird in the hand that would allow the FCC to move forward quickly without running the risk of programming disruptions,” he wrote in a blog post, adding that it doesn’t mean that additional spectrum cannot be reallocated in the future. “This does not have to be the end of the process,” McFadden said.
“The Commission can revisit the C-band as technology evolves and alternative distribution mechanisms become more viable. But forcing a messy, disruptive and delayed result for multiple industries for the sake of a higher number of megahertz right now seems to benefit no one.”
He also acknowledged that some details still need to be worked out, such as the mechanism for the sale of spectrum to wireless companies and the interference rules to ensure “a peaceful coexistence” between wireless and satellite operations.