Wicker, Thune Encourage FCC Action on C-Band Spectrum

Flexible use of mid-band spectrum will help deliver 5G services to all Americans

June 15, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai encouraging the agency to move swiftly to clear C-Band spectrum to meet its planned auction timeline on December 8, 2020.

Excerpt from the letter to FCC Chairman Pai:

5G – the fifth generation of wireless communications technology – is one of the most important technological developments facing the United States in the 21st Century. The anticipated impact that 5G networks will have on the future of our nation’s economy and its global competitiveness is significant.  

Winning the global race to 5G, however, depends in large part upon the availability of low, mid, and high-band spectrum resources. Mid-band spectrum is particularly vital to U.S. leadership in next-generation communications networks given its low latency, wide coverage, and high data capacity characteristics. Studies estimate that the economic impact of mid-band spectrum for commercial 5G networks will add $274 billion to the U.S. economy and create over 1.3 million jobs.

We welcome the Federal Communications Commission’s continued efforts to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G.  The FCC’s sound and decisive approach to free up 280 megahertz of C-Band spectrum for flexible use will help deliver 5G services to all Americans. It will also help promote investment and innovation in new 5G applications and services and address America’s mid-band spectrum deficit.

To succeed in 5G and secure American leadership in information communications technologies, we encourage the FCC to move swiftly to clear C-Band spectrum to meet its planned auction timeline in December.

Click here to read the full letter.

In May 2019, Wicker and Thune sent a letter to Chairman Pai urging the FCC to redouble its efforts to make mid-band spectrum available for 5G. In November, Wicker and Thune introduced the 5G Spectrum Act, S. 2881, which would ensure mid-band spectrum is quickly available in the market by requiring a transparent and competitive public auctioning process. The bill was reported favorably by the committee in December 2019.