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FCC Releases Draft Rules for Mid-Band 5G Auction

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Feb 6, 2020, 4:34 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has released details of the FCC's proposal to re-arrange the C band, making available 280 MHz of additional radio spectrum for 5G in the US. The C band is a 500 MHz segment of spectrum from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, which is currently used by fixed satellite companies to beam content to video and audio broadcasters, cable systems, etc. The FCC's proposal would move all existing users into the upper 200 MHz of that band, freeing up the lower portion (3.7 – 3.98 GHz) to be auctioned for new 5G service in the US. Moving the existing users will be costly and time-consuming, as it will require the launch of new satellites in some cases. The FCC will pay those costs, plus additional incentive payments of up to $9.7 billion if accelerated deadlines are met. If all of those deadlines are met, the first 100 Mhz of newly-allocated spectrum could be in use for 5G service as soon as September 2021, with the remaining 180 MHz in use as soon as September 2023. The incentive payments would be paid by 5G auction winners.

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