FCC Takes Steps To Increase Available Spectrum, Speed Ahead In Race To 5G

Eric Lieberman | Tech and Law Reporter

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Thursday that it is making higher levels of spectrum, the critical input for wireless services, available for public and commercial use.

In an announcement titled “FCC Takes Steps To Facilitate Next Generation Wireless Technologies In Spectrum Above 24GHZ,” the federal agency outlines how it’s trying to help “ensure American leadership in wireless broadband.”

As the FCC notes in a press release, the industry “represents a critical component of economic growth, job creation, public safety, and global competitiveness.”

Specifically, it upped the amount of megahertz (a measure of radio transmission frequency) accessible for utilization, which will allow telecommunication companies to more speedily reach the inevitable goal of 5G implementation.

The technical classification 5G, or the fifth generation of mobile networks, is the for now ill-defined standards of advanced wireless systems. Broadly, it means a significantly increased internet capacity, which will lead to a number of improvements like lower energy consumption, more reliable and faster networks, and smoother device-to-device communications.

The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke to several experts in the field in a prior story, and almost all made a point of stressing how important broadening the availability of spectrum is for America to realize the full benefits of having a 5G-conducive infrastructure.

CTIA, the trade association representing the telecommunications industry, also urges the same.

“We need a pipeline of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum auctioned to meet Americans’ growing demand for more mobile services,” reads CTIA’s subsection titled “How to Win the 5G Race.” “Mobile data usage has spiked more than 200% in the past two years and will grow 5-fold by 2021. Freeing up new airwaves will help carriers meet America’s mobile needs today and tomorrow.”

“Under Chairman Pai’s leadership, the FCC is focused on making available more spectrum for 5G as well as making it easier for carriers to deploy the substantial amount of physical infrastructure necessary for 5G networks,” FCC Press Secretary Tina Pelkey told TheDCNF previously. “These policies will help bring about faster wireless networks for American consumers and businesses.”

Echoing those statements, the FCC wrote in a press release issued Thursday that “the actions taken today will allow for the development of innovative services to the benefit of the public.”

The FCC is taking other steps to ensure America reaches a comprehensive 5G infrastructure before foreign adversaries like China — a race that will likely have dire consequences.

The federal agency announced Thursday that it has streamlined the review process for replacing utility poles so that the ones needed for accelerated networks can be installed faster, and it will streamline rules to quicken “the transition to modern broadband networks.”

CTIA Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Scott Bergmann praised the decisions.

“CTIA applauds the FCC’s efforts to facilitate our 5G future with today’s action on spectrum and infrastructure modernization. We urge the Commission to move quickly to auction the spectrum bands in this order and to rapidly make available additional high-band spectrum for terrestrial mobile broadband,” Bergmann said in a statement. “We also appreciate the FCC’s focus on modernizing wireless infrastructure siting policies. Today’s actions will help enable the wireless industry to invest hundreds of billions of dollars and create millions of new jobs to foster U.S. leadership in next-generation networks.”

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