NAB, Content Producers Praise Pai’s Commitment to C-Band Incumbents

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UPDATE The NAB and several content production companies representing some of the largest C-band capacity purchasers in the U.S. are pleased that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said this week that any upcoming order will protect incumbent band users.

Representatives from The Walt Disney Company, CBS, NBCUniversal, Viacom, A&E Television Networks, Univision Communications, Fox Corporation and Discovery said in a letter to Pai they appreciate the Chairman’s commitment to protecting content distribution during and after the transition. “Clearing 300 MHz of spectrum from a 500 MHz-wide band that is intensively used for video and audio delivery will be an enormous undertaking,” they wrote.

 “It will require the securing of commitments made during the record of this proceeding that will be indispensable to accommodate the shift to less spectrum while protecting services delivered via the C-Band during and after the transition.”

Auction proceeds will cover reimbursement of costs associated with the repack for launching new satellites, upgrading compression and modulation technologies to enable operation in reduced bandwidth, interference prevention, detection, mitigation and enforcement, and service maintenance during the transition. 

The companies and the NAB note a successful transition will require planning, testing, oversight among the satellite companies, customers, distributors, mobile providers, and other stakeholders. They appreciate that the Commission will have an oversight and enforcement role as incumbents are repacked into the upper portion of the band to clear out spectrum for wireless use.

Pai said Monday a public, rather than private, auction of 280 MHz of C-band is the best way to handle adding more users to the spectrum. FCC officials told reporters the Commission will move directly to an order for a public auction, rather than starting with a notice of proposed rulemaking and then conducting a comment period on the NPRM. 

The content companies and the NAB look forward to, “continuing to engage in good faith” with the Commission, the satellite industry, and the wireless industry on these issues.

November 21, 2019

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