FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly says C-band spectrum “is probably the easiest” chunk of spectrum to re-purpose for wireless providers. He told attendees of the Americas Spectrum Management Conference on Tuesday that “current users are prepared to shrink” their portion of the band, “in exchange for money from an auction of that spectrum.” He cautioned though, that “the entire band is probably not available for wireless use in the near future.”
Reiterating what Chairman Ajit Pai said earlier in the day, O’Rielly agreed some Commission action will probably happen with C-band later this fall. That said, “That doesn’t mean there won’t be squabbling.” He also noted “it takes years” for the FCC to set-up an auction, referencing the debate over whether there should be a public or private auction for C-band spectrum.
“My primary objective is getting [a] C-band allocation done as quickly as possible to enable 5G services.” If that means choosing speed over a lengthy process, O’Rielly said he’d prefer the speedier resolution.
Switching topics, O’Rielly was asked whether he envisioned the FCC auctioning more low-band spectrum for wireless use. “I’ve said multiple times at some point we’ll have another broadcast incentive auction,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before it will happen.”
Earlier in the day, Pai listed rule changes the agency has made to streamlining small cell deployment. One-touch make-ready pole attachment was key. Previously, attachers had to make changes one at a time, he said. That meant “pole attachment was hindering deployment,” he said.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
September 25, 2019