Reactions to FCC C-Band Proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai shared with his fellow Commissioners draft rules that would reform the use of the C-band and make a large amount of spectrum available for 5G, the next generation of wireless technology. The full Commission will vote on this Report and Order on Feb 28, 2020 at the FCC’s Open Meeting.

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA): “My duty, and the FCC’s duty, is to the American taxpayers. The C-Band spectrum belongs to them, and the 5G opportunities it represents are also theirs. Unfortunately, the sum Chairman Pai suggested giving to foreign satellite companies is much too high, and it’s highly unfair to those taxpayers. We shouldn’t be in the business of spearheading Luxembourg bailouts when there are towns in Louisiana and across the country without access to broadband service. My colleagues and I have put a bipartisan bill on the table that would pay down our national debt, modernize public safety and finally free rural communities from dial-up prison. Our priorities are in the right place, and I encourage the FCC to consider its proposal in light of those American priorities.”

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA): “We believe that this proposal only reiterates the need for legislation.  The questionable legal basis for the satellite incentives will likely result in litigation, which will delay the deployment of 5G.  Moreover, without Congressional action, this auction will not fund critical public safety infrastructure or bridge the digital divide.  That is why we need legislation to provide the certainty needed for a rapid rollout of 5G and ensure all Americans benefit from the auction of the public’s airwaves.  We continue to work with our Republican colleagues to achieve that end.”

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly: “After years of leading the charge to open up the C-band, I am incredibly excited an order has been circulated, thanks to the leadership of Chairman Pai, that will make a portion of this valuable spectrum available for nextgeneration wireless networks. This key band is by far the most ideal mid-band spectrum in the U.S. for new advanced services, especially 5G. Although I still need to review the particulars, it appears to be consistent with the principles that I set forth a while ago and worked hard with appropriate parties to secure, and I intend to support it. Freeing the 280 MHz of spectrum, while protecting existing systems and remaining users, was my highest priority and where I successfully focused most of my effort. Much time and attention has been spent on the appropriate incentive payment for the satellite providers, and I am pleased that an agreement was reached that should allow them to fully and voluntarily participate in this transition. As I have always said, the satellite providers’ cooperation will be absolutely necessary for a speedy and successful reallocation, and I thank the Chairman for making this possible and for considering this item at the February meeting. Sticking to the announced auction date this December and conducting it on time will be paramount.”

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr: “This morning’s announcement is another big win for American leadership in 5G. It means even more mid-band spectrum will power American 5G, the American taxpayer will see billions of dollars of revenue, and the C-Band services that Americans rely on will be protected. It is a rare win-win-win in Washington, and I am proud to strongly support it. Unlocking the C-Band’s potential has been one of the most challenging public policy puzzles to solve that I’ve seen in my time on the FCC. Chairman Pai and his team deserve tremendous credit for where we are today. It’s the right decision, and he should be praised for our action."

The C-Band Alliance: “The imminent issuance of the draft order reflects the tireless efforts of many over the past several years to ensure that this critical spectrum comes to market safely, quickly, and efficiently. Today’s comments by Chairman Pai are a significant development in this important proceeding. We look forward to reviewing the draft order, once issued, to place Chairman Pai’s comments in full context.”

AT&T: “We are encouraged that the FCC is taking the next critical step toward making this valuable mid-band spectrum available for mobile flexible use, while at the same time recognizing the critical need to have an orderly and timely transition in place to protect the content programming ecosystem currently relying on C-Band and impacting over 100 million U.S. households.  We look forward to reviewing the details of the draft order and working with all stakeholders to ensure that both the auction and the transition are a success.”

Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg: "Today is a monumental day in our nation’s efforts to maintain wireless leadership in 5G. Chairman Pai’s historic announcement sets forth a bold vision for bringing much needed mid-band spectrum to auction this year. Most importantly, his plan ensures that this critical spectrum is not only auctioned quickly, but cleared on an accelerated basis. This speedy transition will undoubtedly ensure that the US will preserve its global leadership in 5G and will produce hundreds of billions of dollars in economic benefits for the country."

Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Project at New America’s Open Technology Institute: “It is disappointing that Chairman Pai would propose to stretch the FCC’s authority to require auction winners to make excessive windfall payments to foreign satellite companies that are not fully using C-band spectrum. That $9.7 billion will come straight out of taxpayers’ pockets. The FCC should give Congress a chance to pass legislation that clarifies its authority, sets reasonable incentive payments, and earmarks the revenue for rural broadband and public safety, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress have proposed.”

Reactions to FCC C-Band Proposal AT&T Statement on FCC’s Proposal to Unleash C-Band Spectrum for 5G FCC plan for mid-band auction is a major step in boosting U.S. leadership in 5G Comm. O'Rielly Statement on Circulation of C-Band Order Carr Announces Strong Support for FCC Action on C-Band C-Band Alliance Responds to Remarks of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in C-Band Proceeding Sen. Kennedy statement on FCC plan for C-Band public auction OTI Criticizes FCC Plan to Give Unnecessary $9.7 Billion Payoff to Satellite Companies Pallone & Doyle on Pai's C-Band Auction Proposal