Earlier in 2019, the U.S. had unveiled its plans to expedite the deployment wireless 5G networks across the continental United States, with the Federal Communications Commission announcing new 5G spectrum auctions and allocating $20.4 billion to bring highspeed broadband to the nation’s rural areas.
The latest developments in these efforts recently came when Telesat, SES and Intelsat gave in to the demands for more spectrum, announcing that their group, known as the C-Band Alliance, will increase the spectrum of its 5G proposal to 300 megahertz (MHz) instead of the previously announced 200 MHz.
The group’s commitment to increase the proposed spectrum, to 280 usable MHz along with 20MHz of guard band, comes after it faced pressure from a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official for more 5G spectrum as well as a competing 5G spectrum plan that was aiming at 370MHz.
The FCC’s most vocal C-band commissioner, Michael O’Rielly had stated back in September that the nation needs a minimum of 300MHz of coveted spectrum for 5G wireless services.
In July, the ACA Connects, a renowned trade association made up of 700 small and medium scale telecom providers, proposed along with Charter Communications and Competitive Carriers Association, an alternate option to the satellite operator strategy which would repurpose 370MHz of C-band.
In October, the C-Band Alliance announced that it concluded that clearing the 300MHz capacity is possible by expediting the implementation of advanced signal compression technology along with associated signal improvements for satellite broadcasters.
Speaking for the C-Band Alliance, the CEO of Intelsat, Stephen Spengler, stated that across the two-year process, members of the group have strived to work as peers collaboratively, particularly to be responsive to U.S. policy makers’ goals as they seek 5G spectrum, and to closely work with the groups’ customers to understand their present and future needs and protect their respective transmissions.
Spengler further added that since then the commercialization of compression technology has continued on. The group is now confident that it can deliver a solution which not only optimizes mid-band spectrum clearing to enable 5G across the country, but also completely fund a next-generation, spectrally-efficient compression infrastructure for distribution of programming throughout the U.S.
Under the group’s revised plan, 100MHz of C-band will be cleared throughout top 46 U.S. metropolitan areas within an 18 month period since an FCC order. The C-Band Alliance stated that the full 280MHz would be made available throughout the continental United States within 36 months.