What’s the Answer to the C-Band Conundrum?

To maximize spectrum’s value, it must be able to transition to new uses as technologies emerge. The C-Band includes 500 MHz of particularly desirable spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz and is currently allocated for satellite use. Given fast-growing wireless use and emerging 5G technologies, there is widespread agreement that at least some C-Band spectrum should be available for terrestrial uses instead of satellite uses, and that the reallocation should happen as quickly as possible. But there is less agreement on how much to reallocate and how to do it. The largest satellite companies that currently use the band have proposed a private sale. T-Mobile has proposed an incentive auction similar to the one the FCC recently completed for broadcast spectrum. Broadcasters and cable companies, meanwhile, are wary of reallocations that may disrupt the airwaves that they use to distribute programming. This panel will discuss the economic, policy, and practical implications of the competing proposals as well as whether and how the FCC will respond to these options for C-Band reallocation.

Panelists include:

Tim Brennan, Professor, Public Policy and Economics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Colleen King, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Charter Communications
Patrick McFadden, General Counsel, National Association of Broadcasters
Peter Pitsch, Head of Advocacy & Government Relations, C-Band Alliance
Steve Sharkey, Vice President, Government Affairs, Engineering and Technology Policy, T-Mobile
Scott Wallsten (moderator), President and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute

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