At the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) open meeting on February 28, the commissioners will vote on a critical matter regarding the nation’s spectrum policy. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed a public auction for what is known as the C-Band of wireless spectrum. As of now, this band of spectrum is currently allocated and underutilized by fixed satellite companies. While any underutilization of a finite yet critical resource such as wireless spectrum is problematic, the C-Band is ideally suited for fifth generation or “5G” wireless service.
As countless industries race to make investments in 5G-enabled technology, the United States can ill afford to fall behind in clearing the way. CEI has long supported efforts to make more efficient use of the C-Band. While the ideal and most expeditious course of action in our view would have been a private auction, we are encouraged by Chairman Pai’s commitment to hold the proposed public option before the end of 2020.
Earlier this month, CEI joined a coalition letter of several free-market organizations calling for an expeditious public auction, following the news that this was the preferred course of action by Chairman Pai. Two days after the release of the letter, Pai released the full proposal to be voted on at the end of this month.