Press Release

Public Knowledge Applauds Chairman Pai’s Decision to Hold a Public Auction of C-Band Spectrum

November 18, 2019 , , ,

Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai notified lawmakers the FCC will hold a public auction of 280 megahertz of C-Band spectrum that can be used to deploy next-generation 5G wireless networks. The Chairman’s decision concludes more than two years of analysis and deliberation regarding the best approach to repurpose C-Band spectrum for wireless use. The airwaves are viewed as essential for 5G wireless networks and are estimated to fetch up to $60 billion at auction. 

Public Knowledge testified before the House Energy & Commerce, Communications and Technology Subcommittee last month in support of the FCC holding a public auction for the C-Band airwaves.

The following can be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Policy Director at Public Knowledge: 

“Today’s decision by Chairman Pai is the right one and will allow the Commission to move forward quickly to repurpose and auction a significant swath of crucial mid-band spectrum for 5G wireless networks. A public auction of the C-Band is the outcome that best serves the public interest by ensuring the sale has sufficient oversight and transparency, promotes competition and diversity in spectrum licensees, helps close the digital divide, and returns the auction proceeds to the public.  

“Importantly, today’s decision places the Commission on sound legal footing, and ensures that making C-Band spectrum available for wireless use is not unnecessarily delayed. Additionally, the public will benefit from a FCC-led auction that will likely return tens of billions of dollars of proceeds to the Department of Treasury. Congress can then allocate those funds to projects that help close the digital divide by making broadband universally available and affordable, and promoting digital equity. 

“Public Knowledge applauds today’s decision by Chairman Pai. We also thank Commissioner Geoffrey Starks; Senator John N. Kennedy (R-LA); and Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), and David Cicilline D-RI) for their leadership in protecting and promoting the public interest and urging the Commission to conduct a public auction of C-Band spectrum.”