Pai Sets July Vote for C-Band Item

The FCC will vote at its July public meeting on a proposal to make more "intensive" use of 500 MHz of midband spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz (C-band).

That is according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who announced the planned vote at the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connect Expo in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday (May 23).

Cable operators use that band for thousands of receive-only earth stations. 

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That comes after the FCC earlier this month asked for input on how to repurpose C-band spectrum, seeking comment on a report it must prepare for Congress, mandated by the Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act (Mobile Now Act).

"I’ve got some good news to report on the mid-band front," Pai told the WIA audience. "Last year, the FCC agreed to explore repurposing more mid-band spectrum, including the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band, commonly called the 'C band.' We have done a lot of work on this issue in the time since—enough so that I’m pleased to announce today that at the FCC’s July meeting, I intend to put up for a vote a proposal to make more intensive use of that 500 MHz of spectrum, including seeking additional input on making it available for commercial terrestrial use."

The chairman also said that, "when it comes to low-band spectrum," the post-incentive auction transition process for that 600 MHz spectrum is going "very well indeed." That includes the biggest auction winner, T-Mobile, already using its spectrum—it has paid some broadcasters who gave up spectrum in the auction to move off early—to provide mobile broadband in 28 states. 

In August 2017, the FCC launched a notice of inquiry into 'next-generation' opportunities for use of "mid-band spectrum"—seeking to explore "all potential options to meet the ever-increasing demands" for wireless bandwidth. The NOI sought comment on three specific mid-range bands (3.7-4.2 GHz, as well as 5.925-6.425 GHz, and 6.425-7.125 GHz).

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.