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THE C-BAND: Re-purposing Mid-Band Spectrum for 5G

On February 06, 2020 Chairman Pai shared with his fellow Commissioners draft rules that would reform the use of the C-band and make a large amount of spectrum available for 5G, the next generation of wireless technology.

The C-band is a 500-megahertz segment of spectrum from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, which is now mostly used by fixed satellite companies to beam content to video and audio broadcasters, cable systems, and other content distributors. However, satellite companies don’t need the entire C-band to provide the services they are providing today. They can provide the same services with less bandwidth, which would free up a significant amount of spectrum for 5G.

5G Americas’ response to the announcement:

"Today’s announcement by the FCC regarding mid-band spectrum and the C-Band auction is an important step for U.S. 5G leadership for the next generation of mobile communications. Mid-band licensed spectrum will be critical in providing both coverage and capacity for the vast array of new 5G services and applications for consumers and enterprise users in the U.S."

Chairman Pai’s draft rules would make the lower 280 megahertz of the C-band available for flexible use, including 5G, through a public auction. Existing satellite operations would be repacked into the upper 200 megahertz of the band with relocation costs covered. 

This strikes the appropriate balance between making available critical mid-band spectrum for 5G and protecting incumbent uses. This would be the Commission’s most significant action yet to repurpose mid-band airwaves and would represent a critical step toward securing United States leadership in 5G. It would quickly free up a significant amount of spectrum for next-generation wireless services, and it would generate significant revenue for the U.S. Treasury. 

The full Commission will vote on this Report and Order on February 28, 2020 at the FCC’s Open Meeting.

You can access complete documents below:

Today, I outlined my proposal to start a public auction of 280 MHz of spectrum in the C-band on December 8. This #cbandplan would advance US leadership in #5G.

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