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5G spectrum space freed up by FCC in USA

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to discuss new rules to identify and open spectrum for next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications.

The next-generation 5G infrastructure is required to be 10 to 100 times faster than 4G and be far more responsive to allow advanced technologies like virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely. The FCC will vote on the issue on 14 July.

The body’s chairman, Tom Wheeler, said if it “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.

“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 also seek comments on opening other high-frequency spectrum bands and will make spectrum available prior to the finalisation of technical standards.

The mobile providers Verizon and AT&T are planning to begin deploying 5G trials in 2017, while 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.

But the full rollout of 5G in America could still lag behind South Korea and Japan who plan to deploy 5G services by the time they host the Olympics, in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

It is hoped that 5G will boost the number of Americans that have access to high-speed internet. “Millions of Americans can’t access high-speed connectivity because it’s too costly to run fibre to the home,” Wheeler said.

The new networks could also provide advantages to a number of other up and coming technologies. “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.

High-band spectrum, like the unlicensed 14 GHz band, will allow companies to begin building infrastructure to support the next generation of wireless technologies, including faster mobile internet and Wi-Fi speeds.

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