C-Band for 5G Rollout Becomes a Political Hot Potato in the United States

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By Kangrui Ling | 4Q 2019 | IN-5668

United States Divided over 5G C-Band Spectrum Allocation


The C-Band Alliance (CBA) in the United States, which is made up of European satellite operators Intelsat and SES and Canadian operator Telesat, has filed a proposal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clear 60% of the C-Band spectrum (3.7 to 4.2 MHz) for 5G deployment. This amounts to 280 MHz for 5G, with 20 MHz reserved as a guard band, totaling 300 MHz for 5G deployment. These satellite operators currently use the C-Band downlink spectrum to provide up to 120 million American households with TV and radio content.

The proposal entails a CBA-led private spectrum auction to Communication Service Providers (CSPs), which will net the CBA a total of US$60 billion. The CBA proposes using the proceeds to pay for hardware and software upgrades for video compression technologies, allowing content providers to continue providing TV and radio content within the remaining 40% of the C-Band spectrum (which equals 200 MHz) at no additional cost. It will also fund the launch of eight new satellites to ensure that provision of TV and radio content will not be disru…

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