To Fiber or To Filter, That Is the Question

“To fiber or to filter” is the decision that operators will have to make later this year, according to Ross Lieberman, Senior Vice President of Regulatory for ACA Connects. Speaking at NCTC’s WEC 2020, Lieberman was referring to one of the choices that operators will have to make as they participate in the FCC’s plan to transition frequencies typically used for satellite downlinks for what the FCC terms, “flexible use… for 5G and other advanced wireless deployments (PDF).

The FCC is slated to vote at its February 28th Open Commission Meeting on a Report and Order that would reallocate the 3.7-3.98 GHz portion of the C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) for use in terrestrial wireless networks (e.g. 5G). Under that plan, satellite operators will be provided with incentives to clear the 3.7-3.98 GHz portion of the band as quickly as possible, while earth station operators will have to decide whether to continue receiving programming via satellite or opt for fiber delivery of their programming.

Hence, Ross’ comment suggesting that microwave frequency filters may be needed in some cases to presumably prevent potential interference between the terrestrial and satellite wireless signals. Fiber eliminates any interference issues. Of course, there are trade-offs between the two media for video transport and answering this question will probably be a hot topic for the consulting industry throughout 2020, as each MVPD has unique circumstances.

Also slated for the February 28th FCC Open Commission Meeting is a vote on the Public Notice that would seek comment on procedures for auctioning off the 3.7 to 3.98 GHz band. A portion of the auction proceeds would help pay the costs for the incumbent C-Band satellite operators and incumbent earth station operators to find alternative ways of receiving programming.

Shortly after the above interview, Lieberman tweeted a link to ACA Connect’s Ex Parte of a recent meeting with FCC Commissioner O’Reilly’s office documenting their suggested refinements to the FCC’s Proposed Report and Order. His Tweet reinforces his comment and recommendation to ACA Connects’ members that they use social media to help communicate their respective challenges and concerns to policymakers.

Of course, the best form of communication is face-to-face and ACA Connects is facilitating that next month with its annual Summit in Washington DC. Viodi is pleased to be working with ACA Connects once again to document that informative and entertaining event.

WEC2020 coverage is brought to you by NCTCand ViodiTV.

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