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November 07, 2018
Brattle Principal Authors a Report on Maximizing the Value of the C-Band

Brattle Principal Coleman Bazelon has prepared a report, “Maximizing the Value of the C-Band: Comments on the FCC’s NPRM to Transition C-Band Spectrum to Terrestrial Uses,” commissioned by Intel, Intelsat, and SES. The report discusses the trade-offs policymakers need to evaluate in consolidating and moving C-Band satellite users to accommodate new potential uses, including 5G.

In the report, Dr. Bazelon discusses the market and regulatory failures that currently keep the C-Band from being used as efficiently as it can be as a starting point for evaluating the numerous proposed solutions to increase the C-Band’s efficiency. The market failures include overlapping rights to the band, creating a holdout problem where any one of a number of satellite licensees could prevent a value increasing repurposing of the spectrum. The regulatory failures include significant informational challenges that a regulator would face in attempting to craft an optimal reallocation. Dr. Bazelon found that the Market-Based approach, where the FCC would authorize a Transition Facilitator to develop a an optimal plan to repurpose spectrum taking into account the complexities of matching supply and demand by frequency and geography, addresses these market failures.

Allowing satellite operators to coordinate through a Transition Facilitator and negotiate with potential terrestrial wireless users overcomes the market failure by vesting in a single entity the ability to develop a transition plan for the band. It also addresses the regulatory failure by incentivizing the satellite carriers to develop the information needed to optimize a transition. Those carriers, working as the Transition Facilitator, know their own networks and business and have existing relationships with the earth stations who are their customers. He argues the Market-Based approach is preferable to the alternatives because it would create an incentive to implement the optimal solution as quickly and effectively as possible as a delay in transition will be very costly, both to the parties involved in the transition and to society.

The full report is available in the appendix of the below filing.