WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a FCC filing submitted Tuesday (7/2), ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association, Competitive Carriers Association and Charter Communications teamed to present a comprehensive proposal for repurposing a large portion of valuable midband spectrum, C-Band spectrum (3.7-4.2 GHz) — at least 370 megahertz or more — for 5G wireless services.
These entities represent a broad group of interests that are both incumbent users of the C-band spectrum and prospective providers of 5G wireless services. The proposal, ACA Connects notes, marks the first time that incumbents and prospective new licensees have come together on an industry-designed plan for repurposing the C-Band, which they say is critically important to winning the global race to 5G.
As Charter and the associations see it, the proposal “is a win-win for consumers, rural America, incumbent users of the C-band, the satellite industry, and future wireless users.”
They note, “It efficiently frees up almost twice the amount of spectrum made available in the most often discussed alternative proposal to date – as quickly in most areas, and twice as fast in urban areas. Moreover, it ensures a fiber alternative in rural America, funded by winning bidders, helping to resolve the urban rural digital divide.”
Specifically, the proposal does the following:
- Frees up at least 370 megahertz (and likely more) of the C-band spectrum on a nationwide basis and on an expedited timeframe, ensuring fast and widespread deployment of 5G, including to smaller communities and rural areas;
- Makes whole all incumbents — including the satellite industry, its customers, and earth station users — and provides all of these stakeholders with long-term certain protection for existing services;
- Contributes to the goal of building fiber to provide high-speed broadband in unserved or underserved rural areas;
- Ensures a transparent FCC-led auction that will ensure the public receives all spectrum sale proceeds (expected to be in the billions) beyond what is required to reimburse costs and incentivize current users; and
- Creates 100,000 “direct” jobs and as many as another 100,000 “indirect” jobs in communities across the country.
ACA Connects President/CEO Matthew M. Polka said the proposal ensures that all Americans will benefit from re-farming of the C-band spectrum. “The plan is fast, fair, and fruitful: financially and otherwise,” he said. “Designed to accommodate the interests of multiple parties, the proposal is an expedient and economic way to fiber up all of America and bring more connectivity to underserved and rural areas while ensuring that valuable spectrum is made available efficiently to carriers.”
CCA President/CEO Steven K. Berry added, “Today’s joint filing is significant progress and demonstrates industry’s willingness to work together to ensure the repurposing of the C-Band spectrum is done right. Mid-band spectrum provides real opportunities for competitive carriers to enhance and expand their networks, especially in rural areas, and CCA strongly encourages the FCC to make the maximum amount of spectrum available for the benefit of consumers and the industry. I am pleased to work with ACA Connects and Charter on this joint proposal and look forward to continued work with the Commission to ensure no American is left behind in the digital world.”
Further, Charter SVP/Regulatory Affairs Elizabeth Andrion said, “As a video programming distributor and emerging wireless leader excited by the promise of 5G, we are pleased to have come together with major stakeholders to create an efficient, fair and viable plan that maximizes the amount of spectrum made available for 5G and protects our video customers.”