FCC Agrees to O’Halleran Request to Keep C-Band Auction Public

November 18, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—At the end of October, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that the FCC not permit a privately run sale for an upcoming C-band spectrum auction to ensure that all aspects of reallocation and transfer of valuable spectrum remain in the public interest, and that the process benefits the rural communities that have the most to gain with the expansion of this technology. Today, Chairman Pai announced that the FCC would be concurring with O’Halleran’s position and keeping the C-band auction public.

“I am pleased that Chairman Pai took our recommendation into consideration and will be keeping this important auction open to public oversight and input,” said O’Halleran. “This is merely the first step in working to close the digital divide between rural and urban America and assist those in more remote communities in accessing quality, high-speed internet.”

The FCC—overseen by Congress—received a proposal earlier this year from foreign satellite companies wishing to host the C-band auction themselves through a private sale. This process would have removed transparency and taken away any incentive to return excess monies gleaned in the process to the U.S. Treasury for efforts to expand rural broadband programs.

O’Halleran’s letter was signed by seven other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee: Reps. Peter Welch (VT-AL), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), and Tony Cardenas (CA-29).

View the letter here, and Chairman Pai’s response, here.