Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed new rules to open up spectrum for 5G applications. At a National Press Club luncheon in Washington DC in June, Wheeler spoke about why the FCC should make 5G a top priority for fostering American innovation.
He predicted that future technology—such as virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, smart energy grids—will require new access to spectrum in multiple bands. “To seize the opportunities before us, we need the next generation of wireless connectivity – a fifth generation, or 5G,” said Wheeler. “And if the United States is going to continue to be a world leader in wireless, we need to speed the deployment of 5G, here, on our shores.”
If the Commission approves the proposal the US would be the first country to open up high-band spectrum for 5G. These bands use millimeter wave signals that have unique physical properties that previously limited their use. The signals travel best in straight, narrow lines and usually don’t do well in urban environments because they are bad at penetrating physical obstacles. Now, Wheeler explained, “Brilliant engineers have developed new antennas that can aim and amplify signals, coupled with sophisticated processing” that enables devices to utilize high-band signals. The Commission will vote on the “Spectrum Frontiers Order” on July 14.
Read Chairman Wheeler’s prepared remarks: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0620/DOC-339920A1.pdf.