FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today detailed his agency’s plans for the beginning of a 5G wireless standard. Wheeler explained that the he wants to open 200MHz-wide chunks of high-band spectrum for 5G that will offer faster speeds and sub-millisecond latency.
“To seize the opportunities before us, we need the next generation of wireless connectivity - a fifth generation, or 5G,” Wheeler said. He went on to talk a bit about the various applications that could benefit from fast, low latency 5G connectivity, like surgeons using virtual reality to operate on patients hundreds of miles away.
The FCC plans to have its Spectrum Frontiers proposal for opening up 5G frequencies ready for vote by July 14. The FCC also plans to streamline its environmental and historic preservation rules in an effort to make it easier for cities to find places for the small cell sites that’ll be needed for 5G networks.
It’s worth noting that Wheeler and the FCC expect private companies like AT&T, Verizon, and others to develop and define the actual 5G standards. “Turning innovators loose is far preferable to expecting committees and regulators to define the future,” Wheeler said.
Most of the details of 5G are still up in the air, and it’ll be years before we see any sort of major 5G deployment that consumers can use. Still, it’s exciting to see the FCC pushing to get the 5G ball rolling in the U.S. If the FCC’s upcoming proposal is approved, the U.S. will be the first country to reserve high-band spectrum for 5G networks and applications. “And that’s damn important,” Wheeler said, “because it means U.S. companies will be first out of the gate.”