Senate Commerce to Mark Up C-Band Bill

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a markup for a baker's dozen bills including several communications related offerings, one mandating an FCC auction of C-Band spectrum with at least 50% of the proceeds going to the Treasury. 

The executive session has been scheduled for Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. 

Related: Programs Praise Content Protections in FCC C-Band Proposal 

The C-Band bill is 3. S. 2881, the 5G Spectrum Act, sponsored by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and John Thune (R-S.D.). 

It would also require the auction to start "start no later than December 31, 2020," and require that the FCC free up at least 280 MHz (of the 500 MGz in the band). 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has already signaled he plans to auction 280 MHz of the spectrum, rather than repurpose it via a private auction as satellite operators had pushed for, and to begin the auction before the end of 2020, so the bill would essentially mandate Pai's proposal, which he plans to release for a vote early next year. 

The C-Band is used by broadcasters and cable operators to receive network programming. The FCC proposal and the 5G bill would both leave 200 MHz for those and other incumbent users. 

The other Telecom/tech bills teed up for debate, amendment and likely vote, are: 

S. 2204, the Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act, sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo, (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.) 

2. S. 2363, the Telecommunications Opportunities for Workers Engaging in Real (TOWER) Infrastructure Deployment Act, sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema, (D-Ariz.). 

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.