Programmers Praise Content Protections in Pai C-Band Plan

Add content companies to those praising FCC chair Ajit Pai for making clear that the FCC would prioritize protecting incumbent cable and broadcast content feeds in its clearing, auction, and repack of C-Band satellite spectrum.

Pai announced this week that the FCC will propose setting aside 300 MHz of the band, inclusive of a 20 MHz guard band, with the balance reserved for satellite delivery of network programming to broadcasters and cable operators, which he said must be protected from interference.

Related: Comcast: FCC Must Leave 200 MHz of Interference-Free C-Band for Video

"The Chairman’s recognition of the importance of maintaining a robust and reliable content distribution system in the upper 200 MHz of C-band spectrum, free of harmful interference and without proposals to introduce new terrestrial transmissions, whether on a fixed, mobile, or flexible use basis, is a critical step in this proceeding," they wrote Pai Wednesday (Nov. 20). "We appreciate the chairman’s commitment to protecting content distribution during and after the transition," wrote major broadcast and cable network content distributors comprising Disney, CBS, NBCU, Fox, Viacom, A&E, Discovery and Univision.

Pai has not outlined the details of his proposal for an FCC auction of 280 MHz, though FCC officials did say the plan is to conduct it by the end of 2020, and to vote for the public auction option early next year.

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.