FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly advised TV broadcasters today not to “get greedy” in the reallocation of spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 gigahertz band for terrestrial 5G services.
In the text of his speech to the National Association of Broadcasters’ State Leadership Conference in Washington, Mr. O’Rielly said repurposing of spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band “is one of my highest priorities at the Commission this year, especially given its importance in bringing needed spectrum resources to our nation’s private sector wireless providers as part of the global race to 5G. Having taken a lead advocate role on the matter for quite a few years, I would appreciate any assistance you can bring to make this happen as smoothly and quickly as possible.
“Please know that there is near certainty that C-Band reallocation will occur. While the particular details are still to be worked out, this debate has matured into finding the best mechanism for reallocation and determining how quickly it can occur. From a broadcasting perspective, I have made it one of my conditions for approving any reallocation that the proposal include full reimbursement and retuning for those broadcasters that currently use C-band satellite services,” Mr. O’Rielly added. “My message to you is that if you don’t get greedy or seek unfair enrichment for the reallocation, your concerns will have to be fully addressed.”
The Commissioner also noted that the TV band repacking is “in the middle of Phase 2, with a completion date of mid-April. Most experts I have spoken to do not anticipate tremendous difficulties until Phases 3 or 4, but if your particular station has concerns, the repack would obviously become a top-tier issue for you and your organization.
“Let me assure you, while I fully want the 600 MHz spectrum cleared as soon as possible, no station should be worried that the FCC would make it … go dark and cease offering programming to viewers,” Mr. O’Rielly added. “You have my word that I will not let that happen. This promise, however, should not be seen as an invitation to become complacent or lackadaisical. Instead, if real and demonstrable unforeseen circumstances develop, the Commission will want to work with the station to address and resolve issues as quickly as possible. Your obligation is to notify and work with the transition staff if, and as soon as, any such problem is detected.” —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org