Harnessing Satellite Spectrum for Broadband: Will Incumbents Sell, Stay, or Share?


At its July meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is likely to adopt an unprecedented proposal to open a large band of satellite spectrum for mobile and fixed wireless broadband.  The mid-band spectrum from 3700 to 4200 MHz has become the most sought-after resource for both future “5G” mobile networks and for extending high-capacity “fixed wireless” broadband in rural and other low-density areas where trenching fiber would cost too much or take too long. 

The C-Band (3700 – 4200 MHz) currently carries live TV and radio programming from content producers to local stations and cable systems nationwide.  The National Public Radio network, for example, depends on C-Band satellites to whisk its live content to the 475 local stations that tune their dishes to a satellite transmitting in the lower part of the band. Overall, more than 110 million American TV households rely on thousands of earth stations to distribute content via cable system head ends, local broadcast stations, and over-the-top video providers.

The FCC’s draft notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to be released in late June, and will require reconciling the interests of a half dozen or more powerful industries, including video content producers, broadcast stations, cable networks, satellite operators, high-tech companies, mobile carriers, and rural broadband internet service providers. 

The two primary proposals under consideration involve clearing the satellite service off the lower portion of the band (boosting mobile capacity for 5G) and authorizing shared use of the unused frequencies in the remainder of the band (enabling high-capacity fixed wireless). Some stakeholders support both proposals as complementary (a “win-win”); other stakeholders oppose one or both proposals.

Our event will open with presentations summarizing the two leading proposals, by Intelsat and Google, respectively, followed by a panel discussion with a variety of stakeholders.  Please join us for this very timely briefing and debate on the future of C-Band and broadband.

Follow the conversation online using #SharedSpectrum and following @OTI

Lunch will be served.

Keynote Addresses:

Andrew Clegg
Spectrum Engineering Lead, Google LLC | Powerpoint Presentation

Hazem Moakkit
Vice President for Spectrum Strategy, Intelsat | Powerpoint Presentation

Discussion Panel:


Ross Lieberman, @ROSSatACA
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, American Cable Association

Michele Farquhar
Counsel to SES and Partner, Hogan Lovells

Jill Canfield, @jillmcan
Vice President of Legal & Industry; Assistant General Counsel, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association

Chris Wieczorek
Director, Spectrum Policy, T-Mobile

Jaime Fink, @jaimefink
CTO and Co-Founder, Mimosa Networks


Michael Calabrese, @MCalabreseNAF
Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute at New America