FCC Chairman Pai discusses C-Band
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai was recently asked about C-Band spectrum at the America’s Communications Association summit.
Here is the relevant extract (from the 14:35 mark):
Moderator: Let me ask you about another important issue that we have been advocating. And that’s the c-band proceedings. Certainly its attracted lots of attention.
Chairman Pai: So I hear.
Moderator: So you hear. We’ve helped bring it before you. Regarding the 500 megahertz of prime spectrum real estate you want to make for 5G but from a small operator perspective there is obviously concern related to interference of satellite signals and who really will control that? Whether that will be private industries that controls how that is accomplished or what hand the FCC will have in it. How can you from an FCC perspective ensure that through this process that the specific interests of smaller operators are heard?
Chairman Pai: This is a good question and a very critical and complicated issue. As one of my favorite movie characters might say, “This is a very complicated issue… a lot of buts, a lot of what have yous.” If there are any Big Lewoswki fans out there. But, this is a very complicated one. On one hand we recognize that 5G – the next generation of wireless activity is a critical part of the wireless future. We want America to 5G technologies and one critical part of that is ensuring 5G spectrum is available for 5G innovation and investment. We focused a lot on high band, wave spectrum, but mid-band is also important, too. The 3.7-4.2 megahertz band is something that has attracted a lot of interest in particular the potential for a few hundred megahertz or more to be allocated for 5G services. On the other hand, we do understand that there are a number of people – especially broadcasters, small cable operators and others – who rely on that spectrum as well for delivery of critical services.
So, one of the questions we have and classic puzzles is how do we maximize the use of the spectrum at the benefit of everybody. Is there a way to accommodate every one of these interests? And so that is why in the notice of proposed rulemaking that I am sure you read with a great interest, we are trying to tease out what are the different ideas here? Would a private sale mechanism that was proposed in the rulemaking be the right approach? Some have said that this has the benefit of making a [inaudible] of spectrum available in a period of time. Others have said no we want a FCC-led process. So, that is one of the things we are trying to sort through in meeting with stakeholders from across the board from the C-Band Alliance to the cable operators to programmers and others, and we look forward to getting all that input, synthesizing it and try to figure out a way to make the right decision.
It is important for us to make the right decision than make a right now decision so to speak because we understand that there are a lot of interests in this particular band that need to be accommodated.
Moderator: What do you think in terms of timing?
Chairman Pai: So again, here too, it is much more important for us to get it right than opposed to us more very quickly. So, we are deliberating this as vigorously as we can and hope to reach a resolution at some point in the future once we figure out how the puzzle pieces fit properly.”
We here at C-BAND facts hope that Chairman Pai and the FCC ultimately resolve to do the right thing by US taxpayers!