A proposed FCC recommendation for the upcoming 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) that contemplates the allocation of 3400-3800 MHz C-band spectrum for wireless broadband services has raised concerns among a number of satellite firms which warned the FCC this week of potential interference and other harms to their operations if they are forced to share the C-band with wireless carriers.  

Satellite network operators outlined their views in comments that respond to a recent document issued by the FCC’s WRC-15Advisory Committee.  The document depicts two views:  (1) View A, which asserts there should be no change to existing allocations for the 3400-4200 MHz and the 4500-4800 MHz bands, and (2) View B, which contends that the 3400-3800 MHz band is “well suited to provide capacity for users” and should therefore be allocated for mobile data.  At a meeting of the advisory committee last month, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Satellite Industry Association (SIA), and other parties aligned with those organizations advocated for View A, while AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and various wireless technology firms not surprisingly lined up in favor of View B.  

In support of View A, SES Americom emphasized that the C-band “is used today for a broad variety of services, including distributing video content to cable systems and direct broadcast satellite networks viewed by tens of millions of households.”  Pointing to International Telecommunications Union studies that have “shown that terrestrial mobile broadband services cannot practically coexist” with fixed satellite service (FSS) operations in the C-band, SES cautioned that implementation of View B “would threaten the continuity of existing FSS offerings and curtail future growth and development of the satellite infrastructure.”  Echoing SES, Thuraya Telecommunications, a provider of C- and L-band satellite services, noted that “a number of sharing studies have been carried out . . . that show high incompatibility” between international mobile telecommunications and satellite services.  As Inmarsat characterized the C-band as “the backbone of both existing and planned future satellite service provision,” Lockheed Martin stressed that “continued access to the C-band frequencies that are used today to provide important and highly-reliable satellite services on a global basis must be assured.”