NAB Pans Coalition’s C-Band Proposal as “Out of Touch”


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The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says a proposal to re-allocate more than 200 MHz of C-Band spectrum (3.7 to 4.2 GHz) put forth by America’s Communications Association, Charter Communications and the Competitive Carriers Association will delay freeing up spectrum for wireless use and “give oxygen to ill-conceived, self-interested schemes that are out of touch with reality.”

The coalition, which calls itself, ACA Connects, says its 5G Plus plan makes available more critical 5G spectrum (at least 370 MHz) faster than other current proposals and protects and “future-proofs the delivery of pay television programming by transitioning it to fiber delivery.” It also uses auction proceeds to pay for fiber deployment and use to make satellite incumbents whole, contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury, and increases broadband deployment by building fiber, including in rural areas.

An ACA lobbyist told an advisor to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai this week more material will be submitted to the agency detailing how the fiber network would be designed, established, launched, maintained, and paid for, particularly the part of the network that connects programmers to data centers.  

The NAB urged the agency to move forward on reallocating 200 MHz of C-band spectrum and not use the ACA proposal, saying it favors the cable television members of the group. Those members, says NAB, “seek to leverage this proceeding to acquire economic and competitive advantages.” Specifically, says NAB, they want to be paid for their earth stations, to install fiber to replace C-band and by content providers for fiber distribution.

“By restricting or eliminating C-band and forcing content distribution to fiber, the ACA Coalition seeks to undermine inter-modal competition for their new fiber services and secure a price setting stranglehold on the content distribution business. Put simply, they want to get paid to eliminate competition,” says NAB in its filing submitted yesterday.

Broadcasters say fiber is a good backup where possible, but not a substitute for satellite program delivery on C-band. Fiber is more expensive and prone to disruptions, like fiber cuts, due to construction, vandalism or other causes. “These fiber outages are not resolved within seconds or minutes – they are resolved within hours or days – a wholly unacceptable timeframe to restore programming distribution,” says NAB.

The latest drama surrounding C-band comes as Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), has been trying to craft a compromise bill for clearing some of the band for wireless use. She introduced a measure yesterday (see D.C. Download story.) Comments? Email Us.

August 8, 2019     

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