U.S. Spectrum Allocation Needs Reform: Lessons From the C-Band Controversy
Logistical Note: To navigate to the event space, enter into the Rayburn House Office Building through the Horseshoe entrance via South Capitol St. Go down to floor G, then follow signs to room 2045. Food and beverages will be provided to all in-person attendees.
When the Federal Communications Commission’s allocation of C-Band airwaves to 5G carriers elicited safety concerns from the aviation industry, failures in the U.S. allocation process caused the disagreement to boil over until mass flight cancellations became a pressing possibility. Wireless carriers voluntarily agreed to postpone their scheduled deployment and implement temporary mitigation measures, which averted a worst-case scenario. Still, this squabble exposed vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the existing spectrum allocation process that threaten to get worse as wireless bandwidth becomes more crowded and more valuable.
Spectrum is the backbone of the wireless industry, and the United States has a strong interest in making sure American communications networks lead the world. The United States also has a strong interest in securing the safety and stability of aircraft operations and other existing spectrum uses. The best time to address these gaps is now—before the next major allocation proceeding raises the stakes.
A recent report by ITIF and the Eno Center for Transportation, informed by a working group of experts and industry stakeholders, uses the C-Band proceeding as a case study to broadly examine spectrum allocation, exploring the causes of, and solutions for, breakdowns in the process.
Join ITIF and Eno for a discussion on what the spectrum allocation process looks like, where it falters, and how to reform spectrum allocation to promote long-term safety and productivity.
Questions for the speakers? Ask on Slido.