Urges Adoption of ‘5G Plus Plan’ To Unleash 5G, Protect Consumers, And Deliver For Rural America
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, October 29, 2019 – ACA Connects in Capitol Hill testimony urged Congress to ensure that small and rural cable operators, and their customers, are protected in any reallocation of the ‘C-Band.’ The association encouraged adoption of the 5G Plus Plan, a comprehensive proposal it has developed with other stakeholders that would maximize the amount of spectrum repurposed for 5G while bringing fiber connectivity to rural America to help close the digital divide.
ACA Connects set forth its views in testimony today before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, at its hearing on “Repurposing the C-Band to Benefit All Americans.”
ACA Connects Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Ross Lieberman, testifying for the organization, explained that ACA Connects members rely on C-Band satellites to receive the video programming their customers demand.
“While large urban cable operators are switching to fiber as their delivery path for video programming, this is not an affordable option for many ACA Connects members today,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman explained that reallocating 300 megahertz of C-Band spectrum for 5G would have profound consequences for ACA Connects members.
“Simply put, without a fiber alternative, our members and their customers will be stuck with higher prices to use a less reliable C-Band that is more prone to interference and is unable to meet future demand,” he said.
In his testimony, Lieberman observed that the satellite industry’s C-Band Alliance put forward the outlines of a proposal to clear 300 megahertz only the day before (Oct. 28).
“It is clear that ACA Connects’ members would need to execute a grueling series of tasks: installing filters, repointing dishes, and replacing dozens or even hundreds of pieces of equipment in each of their 2,000-plus headends. It would be ‘all pain and no gain.’ That sure doesn’t sound like a ‘win’ for rural America.”
Lieberman noted that ACA Connects and its allies have put forward a plan that avoids these harms while freeing up 370 megahertz of C-Band spectrum for 5G.
“Our ‘5G Plus Plan’ would do this by migrating video traffic off the C-Band and onto fiber, enabling small and rural operators to upgrade to the next-generation technology that is already becoming the standard for larger operators,” Lieberman said.
He also noted that auction proceeds would cover all transition costs, including the deployment of 120,000 route miles of fiber to connect rural cable systems that need it.
“The 5G Plus Plan also delivers for the U.S. taxpayer,” Lieberman said. “The plan would use a public auction to reallocate C-Band spectrum and bring in tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury. The satellite industry, by contrast, has proposed a legally unsound private sale from which it could reap a windfall of $38 billion or more without spending a penny on rural fiber.”
Lieberman concluded, “Our 5G Plus Plan presents a rare opportunity to deliver a ‘triple win’ for America: new spectrum for 5G; greater connectivity in rural communities to close the digital divide; and substantial revenue for the U.S. Treasury.”
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA Connects’ members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://acaconnects.org