Rep. Doris Matsui (D., Calif.), vice chair of the House communications and technology subcommittee, has introduced a bill to incentivize satellite operators that currently use the 3.7–4.2 gigahertz band, or C band, to free up as much of that mid-band spectrum as possible for commercial wireless use by allotting them an escalating portion of proceeds from the FCC’s auctioning of the spectrum based on how much spectrum is made available for auction.
The proposed WIN 5G Act would also establish and fund a new Rural Broadband Deployment Fund.
Rep. Matsui released a draft version of the WIN 5G Act earlier this summer (TR Daily, June 26), calling it a “consensus-based, compromise approach.” As described in a press release today, the bill as introduced appears little changed in its major points from the draft version, although Rep. Matsui said that “[a]s introduced, the WIN 5G Act includes stronger timeframes for the review and reallocation plan to be completed — ensuring that this spectrum can be repurposed for 5G rapidly and equitably. As I stated during the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on [s]pectrum in July [TR Daily, July 16], I am committed to working with [subcommittee Chairman Mike] Doyle [D., Pa.] and stakeholders to find a path moving forward to get C-band spectrum into the marketplace for the 5G economy.”
The bill directs the FCC “to designate C-band satellite operators to serve as a transition facilitator that will craft a transition plan for C-band spectrum. The transition plan will include how much spectrum will be made available in the continental United States, together with determinations that: 1) end users will continue to receive comparable quality of service after repurposing for terrestrial mobile use; and 2) that the amount of spectrum proposed is the maximum amount that can be made available. The transition facilitation plan will also include technical, frequency migration, and end-user protection plans and will be submitted to the FCC within 6 months. The FCC will then have 90 days to review the plan to ensure it is adequate,” according to a press release issued by Rep. Matsui’s office today.
The auction would take place within six months, the press release said. The bill “creates an opportunity for the transition facilitator to receive an additional incentive payment if they submit a sufficient transition plan on the first instance and begin to procure new satellites necessary for C-band distribution capacity not more than 30 days after the plan is found to be sufficient by the FCC,” it said.
According to the press release, the WIN 5G Act would (1) allow the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, “to use existing — otherwise unused — resources in the Spectrum Relocation Fund to support research-related activities that examine the feasibility of federal spectrum users relocating or sharing spectrum with non-federal users”; (2) require government agencies operating in the nearby 3.45 GHz to 3.55 GHz band to submit a Pipeline Act study within six months assessing whether that spectrum could be made available for commercial use”; (3) require, if the Pipeline Study finds that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band can be made available for commercial wireless services, that the band “be identified for auction and reallocated for commercial use”; (4) require “NTIA to consult with the FCC and relevant federal agencies on whether spectrum subject to a plan could be made available on an unlicensed basis, if a study reveals it could not be made available for auction on a licensed basis”; (5) allow revenues from an auction of non-federal spectrum, if that spectrum was made available as a result of NTIA’s research and development, to be transferred by OM for “independent research and development intended to improve the efficiency of federal spectrum use to make available frequencies that have not previously been identified for reallocation and auction”; and (6) establish “a new Rural Broadband Deployment Fund to be used by the FCC to expand rural broadband access with proceeds generated by the auctions required by the WIN 5G Act.” —Lynn Stanton, [email protected]
MainStory: FederalNews Congress FCC NTIA SpectrumAllocation
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