Satellite Operators Agree to Accelerate Vacating C-Band Spectrum | Citizens Against Government Waste

Satellite Operators Agree to Accelerate Vacating C-Band Spectrum

The WasteWatcher

In an important step toward freeing up additional spectrum for 5G deployment, the five eligible satellite operators have agreed to vacate portions of the c-band spectrum (3.7-4.2 GHz) using the accelerated plan put forth by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai.

Under Chairman Pai’s plan, the satellite operators receive an additional $9.7 billion through an Accelerated Relocation Payment program (ARP) as part of the relocation reimbursement costs winning auction bidders would pay under the emerging technologies framework.  The satellite operators will be able to pre-draw from the ARP to cover the costs of relocating their services at an accelerated rate. 

The satellite operators have agreed to clear 120 MHz of spectrum in 46 partial economic areas by December 5, 2021 for the Phase I portion of the process, and the lower 120 MHz of spectrum in the remaining partial economic areas and an additional 180 MHz of spectrum nationwide by December 5, 2023 for Phase II.  If they fail to meet the deadlines for Phase I and Phase II, they will be required to reimburse the proceeds back into the fund.

Regardless of whether the satellite owners agreed to the accelerated relocation plan, vacating the entire lower 300 MHz of the c-band spectrum must be completed by September 30, 2025. The auction process to sell the vacated spectrum is scheduled to begin on December 8, 2020, and it appears it will proceed on time.  The satellite operators’ agreement to accelerate the relocation of their services is a big step forward in speeding 5G deployment across the country.