Members of Congress Urge Trump and FCC to Conduct a Public C-Band Spectrum Auction | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Members of Congress Urge Trump and FCC to Conduct a Public C-Band Spectrum Auction

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


In the latest turn of events in the saga of how best to repurpose the c-band spectrum, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Rep. Greg Gianforte have sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to conduct a public auction of the spectrum, as opposed to turning over the spectrum to foreign satellite companies for a private auction.

C-band spectrum is vital to winning the race to 5G.  The letter made it clear that an FCC-led public auction provides the necessary assurances to all interested parties, including satellite operators, cable operators, broadcasters and programmers.  It also stated that the assignment of 5G licenses in the c-band “will be conducted through a traditional public process that offers transparency and equal opportunity.”  Such an auction will also ensure the taxpayers’ interests are also protected.

The Montana legislators’ letter closely follows Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) letter to President Trump urging the White House to ensure that the c-band spectrum auction is conducted by the FCC.  That auction would avoid placing the nation’s “5G future in the hands of foreign-owned companies who have every incentive to put their own financial self-interests above our own national security and economic priorities.”  Calling the satellite company proposal “our generation’s ‘high tech’ Panama Canal,” Sen. Kennedy also raised concerns that the satellite companies are not relinquishing enough of the c-band spectrum as a means to “constrain supply, artificially drive up prices, and allow the satellite companies to raise prices later when they eventually sell the remaining 300 MHz that are currently available.”

CAGW has long been promoting the same outcome as these members of Congress and has been very clear that the spectrum is owned by the taxpayers, not the satellite companies.  No one can sell something they don’t own, and only the FCC, which has conducted spectrum auctions worth more than $122 billion, has the authority and experience to conduct the c-band auction.

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