U.S. FCC planning to win 5G race

FCC is planning to win the 5G race by making United States the first country in the world to open up high-band spectrum for next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, has shared with the media his ‘Vision for US Leadership in a 5G World’ and outlined plans to free up large swathes of high-band spectrum for future 5G applications.

Wheeler added: ‘if the commission approves my proposal next month, the United States will be the first country in the world to open up high-band spectrum for 5G networks and applications.”

Mr Wheeler said, “The interconnected world of the future will be the result of decisions we must make today. That is why 5G is a national priority, and why, this Thursday, I am circulating to my colleagues proposed new rules that will identify and open up vast amounts of spectrum for 5G applications. We call it the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, and we will vote on it [on] 14 July.”

He further said “unlike some countries, we do not believe we should spend the next couple of years studying what 5G should be, how it should operate and how to allocate spectrum, based on those assumptions.”

The FCC will make spectrum available and rely on a process led by the private sector for producing technical standards.

Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc have said they will begin deploying 5G trials in 2017, and Wheeler said the first commercial deployments at scale are expected in 2020.

Meredith Attwell Baker, CEO of CTIA, the wireless trade group, said 5G rules must “strike a reasonable balance for licensed and unlicensed use while promoting investment with clear service and licensing rules.” The FCC and states must streamline rules for adding wireless infrastructure.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a speech earlier this month that there is a worldwide race to adopt 5G. South Korea and Japan plan to deploy 5G service by the time they host the Olympics, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The European Commission, South Korea, China and Japan are all working on 5G research efforts.

“The race is on. It’s one we want to win,” Rosenworcel said.

Wheeler said 5G will help more Americans get access to high-speed internet. “Millions of Americans can’t access high-speed connectivity because it’s too costly to run fiber to the home,” he said.

The technology will boost many technologies, he said. “Autonomous vehicles will be controlled in the cloud. Smart-city energy grids, transportation networks and water systems will be controlled in the cloud. Immersive education and entertainment will come from the cloud.”

He said, “Turning innovators loose is far preferable to expecting committees and regulators to define the future.”

FCC also will seek comments on opening other high-frequency spectrum bands, he concluded