Google, BAC propose alternative to Intelsat/Intel/SES C-band compromise

The BAC and Google say they’ve come up with a proposal that's a “win-win-win” for the mobile, satellite and fixed wireless stakeholders. (Pixabay)

FCC officials have yet another thing to consider as they ponder what to do with the C-band, aka the highly desired 3.7-4.2 GHz band.

Representatives of the Broadband Access Coalition and Google met with the FCC’s wireless bureau and other staff this past week to put forth an alternative to the Intel/Intelsat/SES proposal for managing fixed satellite service (FSS) in the C-band.

By combining its ideas with the proposal put forth by Intel and the satellite companies, the broadband coalition and Google say they’ve come up with a proposal they’s calling a “win-win-win” for the mobile, satellite and fixed wireless stakeholders.

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In a nutshell, the proposal opens 100 MHz of spectrum at 3700-3800 MHz for mobile 5G in densely populated urban areas, proposes compensation to satellite companies to clear the band while protecting fixed services incumbents and enables delivery of 25 Mbps to 1 Gbps service to rural and residential under-served or unserved communities, according to an ex parte filing (PDF).

The BAC representation included executives from Mimosa Networks, Open Technology Institute at New America and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.

In their presentation to the FCC, the broadband group argues that the proposals by the satellite companies and BAC are not inconsistent with one another. As a stand-alone proposal, BAC argues, the Intelsat/SES/Intel proposal would “do nothing” to address the digital divide, which is one of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s key issues. It also says a technical assessment must be performed with proper assumptions because point-to-multipoint (P2MP) technical characteristics are quite different from mobile.

RELATED: Intelsat, SES propose joint use of C-band by satellite, terrestrial mobile operators

According to the broadband group, the 3700-4200 MHz P2MP systems could immediately provide gigabit-class broadband service to tens of millions of Americans, without causing disruption to FSS systems.

In February, Intelsat and SES announced a proposal that builds off an earlier one put forth by Intelsat and Intel. They’d like to see a consortium of satellite operators created to oversee the clearing of part of the C-band downlink spectrum for licensed terrestrial mobile service through secondary market agreements on a market-by-market basis. But the proposal wasn’t exactly widely embraced by mobile operators, leaving open the opportunity for other compromises.

RELATED: T-Mobile skeptical of satellite industry proposal for 3.7-4.2 GHz band

T-Mobile, for one, said even if incumbents want to engage in secondary market transactions, the limited number of satellite operators may result in monopoly pricing of the spectrum for terrestrial use.

It suggested (PDF) a hybrid approach for the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, using a traditional auction mechanism for most of the band and giving terrestrial rights to incumbents for the remainder of the band in exchange for clearing the auctioned portion.

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