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?
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.