Rep Cole: Noncommercial Broadcasters Must Be Protected in C-Band Sharing

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As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote July 12 on opening up the C-Band for wireless broadband, House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-LA) is calling for care and handling of noncommercial broadcasting. Chairman Cole has written FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to advise caution as the FCC ponders remaking the band to allow wireless use, either by dividing up the band or allowing for sharing. Internet service providers and broadcasters are concerned about the potential interference to the band.  Driven by an explicit desire to speed 5G and close the digital divide, the FCC has released a draft proposal to free up mid-band (C-band) spectrum (3.7-4.2 GHz) for wireless broadband--and perhaps eve auction it all to the highest and best user--a draft it plans to vote on at the July 12 public meeting. Chairman Cole is particularly concerned about the 42 million public radio listeners to the 1,270 stations that rely on those C-band frequencies, including for emergency alerts. In fact, he points out that the 2019 public radio appropriation includes money to upgrade the system. He said that investment recognizes there is not alternative means of distributing the programming to "all comers," including rural and remote areas, he says. Chairman Cole told Chairman Pai that the C-band should not be cleared (for dividing it up between incumbents and new wireless users--or shared) unless the FCC first determines that public radio's "indespensible programming services" will be protected.

Rep. Cole: Noncoms Must Be Protected in C-Band Sharing