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FCC adopts new rules for the foundation of 5G networks

Engadget Engadget 14/07/2016 Billy Steele
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We knew it was coming, and now the FCC has made it official. The commission voted today to adopt new rules that would facilitate the development of 5G wireless networks in the US. More specifically, the guidelines relate to wireless spectrum above 24 GHz and makes the United States the first country in the world to make the spectrum available for so-called next-gen networks. The FCC said in a press release that it's taking a similar approach that it did when 4G (LTE) networks were developed, a strategy that will "set a strong foundation for the rapid advancement to next-generation 5G."

Of course, 5G technology is still being developed, but the new rules will "provide clarity" as companies begin to invest in it. This includes opening up 11 GHz of spectrum for flexible, mobile and fixed use wireless broadband, with 3.85 GHz of that for licensed spectrum and 7 GHz for unlicensed spectrum. Today's vote also creates a new Upper Microwave Flexible Use service in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands in addition to a new unlicensed band at 64-71 GHz. AT&T and Verizon have already revealed plans for 5G tests, and others will likely follow in the near future.

According to the FCC, the new rules also aim to facilitate innovation without letting regulations hold up the process. The commission approved a set of service and technical rules "to allow new technologies and innovations to evolve and flourish without needlessly prescriptive regulations." Guidelines are also in place to balance all of the different use cases for 5G, from wireless service to satellite and federal use. If you're looking for more info on what this all means for the future of high-speed connectivity, consult our explainer on the FCC's vote.


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