On Thursday, July 14, U.S. regulators voted unanimously to open nearly 11 gigahertz of high-frequency spectrum for flexible and fixed-use wireless broadband and mobile networks, in an act that prepares the way for the future ultra-speed next-gen 5G standard.
According to Reuters, the United States is the first country to set aside an ample amount of airwaves for the ultra-fast next generation of wireless services so-called 5G. This could have far-reaching effects for American mobile carriers and consumers.
China, South Korea, Japan and the European Commission are all working on 5G research efforts. In the world there is a race to adopt the new 5G standard. Countries such as Japan and South Korea plan to deploy it by the time they host the Olympics.
Several American companies including AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc have already moved closer to adopting the fifth generation of wireless technology. New 5G networks will provide speeds in the range of 10 times to 100 times faster than today's 4G networks.
Verizon and AT&T announced their plans to begin deploying 5G trials in 2017. By 2020, are expected the first commercial deployments at scale. Sprint Corp and T Mobile U.S. are also undertaking trials.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler declared that the agency's action is an important event for the nation. This makes the United States the first country in the world to allocate for 5G application vast amounts of high-frequency spectrum. Much higher-frequency bands than previously thought viable will be used for applications such a mobile 5G networks.
Wheeler added that the new 5G mobile networks standard will help more Americans to get access to high-speed internet. Mobile phone companies and policymakers plan a next generation of faster wireless signals that will allow advanced technologies like controlling machines remotely or virtual surgery.
However, the FCC vote did not gain universal praise. According to Ars Technica, Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Program at New America's Open Technology Institute, believes that the FCC's plan has its limits. He explained that this plan might leave these bands vacant in more than 95 percent of the country, because the big carriers will use these bands only in high-traffic indoor venues and in city centers.