The FCC just voted to adopt new rules that would facilitate the development of 5G wireless networks. This vote makes the United States the first country in the world to make spectrum available and set guidelines for it. These plans have been in the works since Spring, and have finally come to fruition.
The rules particularly apply to wireless broadband operations in frequencies above 24 GHz. They will open up nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for flexible, mobile and fixed use wireless broadband – 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum. The FCC just created a new Upper Microwave Flexible Use service in the 28 GHz (27.5-28.35 GHz), 37 GHz (37-38.6 GHz), and 39 GHz (38.6-40 GHz) bands, and a new unlicensed band at 64- 71 GHz.
“The Commission has struck a balance between new wireless services, current and future fixed satellite service operations, and federal uses," wrote the FCC's commissioners. "The item adopts effective sharing schemes to ensure that diverse users – including federal and nonfederal, satellite and terrestrial, and fixed and mobile – can co-exist and expand.”
The FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which seeks comment on several unresolved issues. The FCC wants to apply the flexible use service and technical rules it recently adopted to another 18 GHz of spectrum encompassing 8 additional high-frequency band. The FCC is also trying to figure out performance requirements, mobile spectrum holdings policies, and the sharing framework adopted for the 37-37.6 GHz band.
It is important to note that these policies have yet to be tested and are unlikely to for some time. 5G technology is still being developed and companies such as AT&T and Verizon have only announced plans for its advancement. These policies therefore are intended to “set a strong foundation for the rapid advancement to next-generation 5G”.