UPDATE While reassuring broadcasters about the spectrum repack this week, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly also delivered a sobering message about the agency’s plans for C-band. Speaking to attendees of the NAB State Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, O’Rielly said there’s “near certainty” that C-Band reallocation will occur.
He’s involved in the Commission debate about repurposing what he calls “a good portion” of the C-Band satellite spectrum downlink – 3.7 to 4.2 GHz – to provide a new mid-band spectrum play for 5G wireless services.
This would be accompanied by expanding unlicensed services into the corresponding uplink band at 6 GHz.
Broadcasters are concerned about plans to open up the spectrum they use for satellite program distribution to wireless use. The Commission is pondering proposals that call for sharing the spectrum or moving broadcasts use to another portion of the band.
Broadcasters say sharing the band will cause interference to their programming and they have no other spectrum to use for satellite distribution, Inside Towers reported.
O’Rielly said details need to be worked out, but the C-band discussion is now about finding the best mechanism for reallocation and determining how quickly it can occur. He asked broadcasters for their help to make that happen.
O’Rielly’s conditioned his approval for any reallocation that the proposal include, “full reimbursement and re-tuning” for broadcasters that currently use C-band satellite services. “My message to you is that if you don’t get greedy or seek unfair enrichment for the reallocation, your concerns will have to be fully addressed,” O’Rielly emphasized.
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By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
March 1, 2019