Debunks Claims That Band Is Underutilized By Satellite Service
PITTSBURGH, Oct 3, 2017 – The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to reject the myth that C-band spectrum – the airwaves used by cable programmers to distribute their services to hundreds of cable companies via satellite – is underutilized. ACA added that if the needs of incumbent users are not carefully protected, the introduction of new users into the C-band could mean an entire industry would be forced to find new modes of delivery likely to be far more expensive.
ACA voiced its concerns in comments (attached) filed Oct. 2 as part of an FCC Notice of Inquiry where the FCC sought input on “potential opportunities for additional flexible access —particularly for wireless broadband services” to a number of frequency bands, including the 3.7-4.2 GHz and 5.925-6.425 GHz bands, also called the C-Band.
“There is nothing luxurious about the use of the C-band for the satellite backhaul of video to cable operators and their customers, broadcast stations and other users. Virtually all multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) across the country, including hundreds of small and mid-sized cable operators, pick up that programming by means of thousands of receive-only earth stations, both registered and unregistered, and then deliver it to more than 90 million MVPD households,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
The C-band is the heaviest-used medium for backhaul delivery of video to the systems of MVPDs, as well as to broadcast stations and other users. In fact, despite claims to the contrary, video programming carried by C-band satellites comprises an astonishing number of channels – almost 2,000 – on 24 satellites. With the upgrade of resolution quality to 4K, the demand for the C-band will soon handily exceed the satellite capacity available today.
For many ACA members, the C-band is the only method by which they receive cable programming, because alternative conduits are either unavailable, inadequate or inefficient and would have to be paid for by the cable operators themselves, burdening further the finances of rural businesses counting every penny to make ends meet.
Lessening the primary protection of satellite operations across the band would have a hugely disruptive impact on the video programming distribution industry. If the FCC allows wider use of the C-band, it should preserve the primary status of the Fixed-Satellite Service, establish concrete, immediate-response enforcement mechanisms to avert interference, and explore a streamlined system for the thousands of unregistered stations to become registered.
“ACA applauds spectrum efficiency, and indeed supports the FCC’s initiative for more intensive use of all mid-band spectrum, including greater use by terrestrial services. But the evaluation of any such opportunities must be subject to the Hippocratic principle —first, do no harm,” ACA’s Polka said.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 750 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s 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/