House Commerce Leaders Slam Trump Administration Spectrum Infighting at Hearing

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The House Communications Subcommittee held a hearing on spectrum management and House leadership was not pleased with the infighting between the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications & Information Administration over spectrum policy. The most prominent falling-out is over the FCC's recent auction of high band spectrum in the 24 GHz band for 5G and concerns by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of "out-of-band emissions" affecting satellite weather sensing. Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Full Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the process had broken down, and that when cabinet members were fighting with the FCC overs spectrum policy it was cause for concern. Commerce Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) also called it "a bit troubling" and said he was also expressing his "dissatisfaction with what is happening." Chairman Doyle asked witness Julius Knapp, chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, about a letter to Congress about a compromise that had been reached on interference protections in the 24 GHz band. Knapp said it was his understanding that there was no such compromise, though talks about one continued.

The second panel of the hearing focused on the C-Band and how to best free up some or all of the midband satellite spectrum (3.7/4.2 GHz) for 5G spectrum. The C-Band alliance (CBA), which represents the international satellite operators who deliver video programming over the C-Band currently, want to manage a marketplace approach to the auction, rather than having the FCC auction it, as it would be the fastest way to free up the spectrum for 5G. One witness, Micahel Calabrese of the Open Technology Institute, said a private auction, as CBA proposes, would needlessly transfer billions of dollars to international satellite carriers. Chairman Doyle and Rep Doris Matsui (D-CA) are sponsoring a bill that would require an FCC auction, but on a shot clock so the spectrum could get to market as quickly as practicable.

House Leaders Slam Trump Admin Spectrum Infighting Hearing Page NTIA: Spectrum Policy Must Move Beyond Piecemeal, Band-by-Band Actions (B&C) House Gets C-Band Earful (B&C) Pallone Remarks at Hearing on Spectrum Policy