FCC Chairman wants public auction to reuse 5G satellite tapes

A FCC official told the Wall Street Journal that the regulator hoped to get the C-band auction up for voting in 2020 and start the auction by the end of that year.

Satellite companies, but maybe not so happy. Industry giants like Intelsat and SES have not been reluctant to sell their spectrum, but they have wanted a private auction to share the money they earn and have argued that the FCC is not allowed to use the spectrum without paying them. A public auction flies in the face of it. C-Band Alliance, a group representing satellite companies, has hinted at "protracted litigation" if the FCC pushes forward. Carriers are also of mixed opinions. AT&T, which owns DirecTV, has called the C-band an "opportunity", but also wanted compensation and a "reasonable transition plan" to avoid disruption. Verizon (Engadget's parent company and Pai's former employer) also wanted "appropriate incentives and protection" to ensure a speedy process.

This is not the first time the FCC has shot heads in its search for more 5G airwaves. Senators have accused the FCC of ignoring evidence of possible interference with weather forecasts if 5G is allowed in the 24 GHz band, as an example.

That said, there is no doubt that 5G in the US is getting into trouble as it is. AT&T and Verizon both have to run their current 5G in very high frequency ranges that make a signal difficult to find and too easy to lose ̵[ads1]1; it doesn't even cover complete sports arenas in some cases. Access to the C-band will still be in a higher area than the LTE you usually use today, but it can provide much greater coverage and more capacity. It may be more a matter of when these frequencies are opened than if they do at all.

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