NAB, Content Companies See Protection of C-Band Services as ‘Critical’

WASHINGTON—With a public C-band auction on the horizon, the National Association of Broadcasters and a number of companies that represent large purchases of C-band capacity are fully behind FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s commitment that any plan for the auction will “protect the services that are currently delivered using the C-band so they can continue to be delivered to the American people.”

That quote came from a letter sent by the NAB and the companies—which include Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, Viacom, A&E, Univision, Fox and Discovery—to FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch in response to an ex parte submission about the C-band.

Pai announced earlier this week that plans are underway to launch a public auction for 300 MHz of the C-band spectrum for the development of 5G. That would leave 200 MHz for current C-band spectrum users to continue their operations, which has been used primarily by satellite operators for the delivery of video and audio content.

“The Chairman’s recognition of the importance of maintaining a robust and reliable content distribution system in the upper 200 MHz of C-band spectrum, free of harmful interference and without proposals to introduce new terrestrial transmissions, whether on a fixed, mobile or flexible use basis, is a critical step in this proceeding,” the letter reads.

NAB and its co-signers also stressed the importance of working with the FCC to make the transition as effective as possible for satellite operators and their customers as they shift to less spectrum.

Other areas regarding the transition brought up in the letter touch on reimbursement costs; interference prevention, detection, mitigation and enforcement; maintenance of the service during the transition; and honoring of the commitments that the C-band satellite companies have made. NAB described these as “essential.”

“We are committed to working closely with the commission, the satellite industry and other stakeholders to ensure a successful transition,” the letter reads.

The full letter can be read on NAB’s website.