Sunday, 17 July 2016 21:08

US FCC sets new rules for rapid 5G development and deployment Featured


The US has traditionally been slow in adopting new communications technology, but it is now aiming for 5G leadership with next-generation wireless technology in spectrum above 24GHz.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally adopted "new rules for wireless broadband operations in frequencies above 24 GHz, making the United States the first country in the world to make this spectrum available for next generation wireless services". 

The FCC says that it is "building on the successful, flexible approach to spectrum policy that enabled the explosion of 4G (LTE)", and that "these rules set a strong foundation for the rapid advancement to next-generation 5G networks and technologies in the United States".

So, what will this high-frequency spectrum support?

It will support "innovative new uses enabled by fibre-fast wireless speeds and extremely low latency". 

As the FCC notes, "5G technologies are still under development"/ However the FCC says that its action puts rules in place to "provide vital clarity for business investment in this area".

"These new rules 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 rules adopted today creates 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 FCC says "these rules balance different spectrum access approaches, including exclusive use licensing, shared access, and unlicensed access, in order to meet a variety of different needs and use cases". 

The commission also says it "adopted other flexible service and technical rules to allow new technologies and innovations to evolve and flourish without needlessly prescriptive regulations".

It also proudly boasts of having struck "a balance between new wireless services, current and future fixed satellite service operations, and federal uses". 

The FCC says its "item adopts effective sharing schemes to ensure that diverse users — including federal and non-federal, satellite and terrestrial, and fixed and mobile  can co-exist and expand".

More below, please read on. 

The commission also adopted a "Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which seeks comment on several issues. The FNPRM seeks to apply the flexible use service and technical rules adopted today to another 18 GHz of spectrum encompassing eight additional high-frequency bands, and seeks comment on a variety of other issues, including refinements to the performance requirements and mobile spectrum holdings policies, and the sharing framework adopted for the 37-37.6 GHz band".

With the adoption of these rules, the commission says it has "created a runway for US companies to launch the technologies that will harness 5G’s fibre-fast capabilities".

"Action by the commission on July 14, 2016 by Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 16-89). Chairman Wheeler, commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel approving. commissioner Pai approving in part and concurring in part. commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and dissenting in part. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing separate statements."

A speech on 5G and 5G leadership by FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler can be read here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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