As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to decide how to reallocate some or all of the nation’s satellite C-band spectrum for the coming wave of 5G mobile communications services, experts say appraising the monetary value of the spectrum remains tricky.
The U.S. Commerce Department on March 26 sent a report to the White House declaring sufficient access to radio frequency spectrum critical for a healthy domestic space industry, but avoided weighing in on contested spectrum issues within the space and telecommunications industries.
Leaders of the House Science Committee and three House Appropriations subcommittees are calling on the FCC to delay the auction of 5G radio frequency spectrum scheduled for March 14 due to concern about interference with space-based weather sensors.
Less than a week before a Federal Communications Commission auction of radio frequency spectrum for 5G, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai clearly expressed impatience with the weather community’s ongoing concerns about interference and requests to modify the U.S. government’s position.
Those future lawsuits would also hamstring the C-Band Alliance plan, they said, making it no faster at reallocating the spectrum for 5G networks than an auction.
Intelsat says some satellite operators will be forced to buy new spacecraft if U.S. telecom regulators demand the transfer of 200 or more megahertz of C-band spectrum from satellite operators to cellular companies.
The Global VSAT Forum, an association of satellite communications companies that addresses spectrum, cyber, signal interference and other challenges, announced David Meltzer as its new secretary general.
Every three to four years, spectrum regulators convene to set rules on the use of the world’s limited radio frequency resources at an event known as the World Radiocommunication Conference. Next year the United States’ recently formed National Space Council will attend to defend the interest of American satellite companies and influence changes in international space policy.
As the Federal Communications Commission nears a decision on the use of C-band satellite spectrum, it and several other U.S. agencies are weighing a broader strategy for the nation’s spectrum.
Low-Earth-orbit satellite fleet operator Globalstar is meeting with telecom regulators around the world in an effort to globally authorize some of its satellite spectrum for mobile broadband services.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is still sifting through industry ideas for opening satellite-dominated C-band spectrum to terrestrial telecommunications, and while not yet reaching a conclusion, considers Intel and Intelsat’s proposed spectrum clearing plan a positive step.
“It’s not possible for Intelsat to trade anything they they don’t own,” Thomas Choi, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) chief executive, said Oct. 3. “Many operators, including SES, Eutelsat and even ABS have C-band rights over North America. We would never agree to trade that.”
Eleven small satellite companies are establishing a trade association to address spectrum policies and regulations specific to the no-longer-tiny smallsat industry.
The mobile network operators that strove with limited success to obtain large chunks of C-band spectrum two years ago in Geneva will try again in 2019 to secure more spectrune future 5G networks.