C-Band is Vital in Race to 5G

By: Laurel Duggan

The Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet will be hearing expert testimony on the state of U.S. spectrum policy this week. Central to the conversation on spectrum policy is C-band, a mid-band spectrum that will be vital to the buildout of 5G in the United States. 

A recent increase in demand for licensed and unlicensed spectrum has put considerable pressure on the FCC. The commission has responded with a bold plan for transitioning mid-band spectrum to 5G usage through C-band auctions. 

Mid-band spectrum has a combination of capacity and range that makes it ideal for 5G networks; Chairman Pai calls the C-band the “goldilocks zone.” Thanks to the tireless work of the FCC, the US is a leader in low-band and high-band spectrum. But we need to double our mid-band to keep pace with China, Japan, and South Korea. 

According to a report from Analysis Mason, the U.S. still has no licensed spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band. Making spectrum available for commercial use in this band would propel us ahead in the race to 5G. 

The transition to 5G is projected to create 1.3 million jobs and boost the economy by $274 billion. It will also allow us to speed ahead of our international adversaries. Fortunately, the FCC has taken initiative in the last year by auctioning off C-band spectrum so that it can be transitioned from satellite to 5G use. The pandemic has resulted in some slight delays, but the FCC continues to push ahead with its plan; auctions for CBRS spectrum scheduled for June were only pushed back one month. 

Connectivity is increasingly important for national security and prosperity. The FCC should be applauded for its foresight in clearing spectrum for commercial use. 

Photo Credit: White House