ACA Connects is praising the FCC's decision to allow access to more information in its C-Band proceeding.
The FCC is considering how to free up C-Band spectrum for broadband. It has issued a protective order in the proceeding, as ACA Connects asked for, which sets up the framework for sharing sensitive satellite carrier data with relevant stakeholders that those carriers prefer stay un-shared.
The C-band is the kind of midband spectrum — the sweet spot for 5G — that the FCC is under pressure to start clearing in greater abundance. President Donald Trump has directed his administration to come up with a new national spectrum policy plan with the goal of winning the race to 5G.
"While we are mindful of the sensitive nature of some of the information involved, we are also mindful of the general right of the public, and our desire for the public, to participate in this proceeding in a meaningful way," the chief of the Wireless Bureau said in announcing the order. "We find that allowing limited access to competitively sensitive materials pursuant to the procedures set forth in this Protective Order allows the public (through appropriate representatives) to do so while also protecting competitively sensitive information from improper disclosure and use."
ACA Connects wants the FCC to auction the satellite spectrum, and wants the program distributors now sending out network programming to cable operators and broadcasters from satellites to earth stations to transition to fiber delivery, so that most, and perhaps eventually all, the spectrum can be auctioned for 5G.
Satellite operators want a private auction of some of their spectrum, and aren't looking to be replaced by fiber, so are pushing back on the ACA proposal.
"We’re glad to see the FCC act on ACA Connects’ request to put in place a protective order in this proceeding," said ACA Connects in a statement. "It’s been extremely troubling that the satellite industry has withheld vital information from the record on its current and projected use of the C-Band and the current and projected demand for its services, among other important data and information.
“We’re glad that the FCC has taken this action to allow parties to the proceeding to gain access to this information, [which] will allow parties to challenge many of the CBA proposal’s core assumptions. It wasn’t possible to do this without access to this info."
ACA says the info will only bolster its case for its 5G Plus proposal.