FCC hails 'monumental' vote opening new spectrum for 5G and IoT

The US is the first nation to set aside spectrum for 5G services

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to open nearly 11 gigahertz of high-band spectrum to new wireless uses, hailing it as a "monumental step" that will greatly increase network capacity for 5G and the Internet of Things.

The FCC on Thursday adopted new rules for spectrum above 24 GHz, in a vote that Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler described as one of the most important decisions commissioners will make this year.

"This is a big day for our nation," he said. "This is a big day for our agency."

The commission's vote makes the U.S. the first nation to open up spectrum for the coming 5G services, and the decision may serve as a blueprint for other countries. The spectrum allows for data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps, but signals can travel only short distances, meaning small cell deployments will be needed to deliver most wireless services.

The spectrum could eventually be used by doctors for remote surgery, by industrial equipment to alert repair teams, and by refrigerators to reorder food, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said. The spectrum will also help drive growth in the IoT and in wireless augmented and virtual reality applications, commissioners said.

The vote is a "monumental step" toward new mobile services in "frequencies we never dreamed possible," Clyburn added.

The FCC's decision opens up 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum to new wireless uses. The new licensed spectrum is in the 28GHz and 37GHz bands, and the new unlicensed band is from 64 to 71 GHz. 

Some of the spectrum is now used by satellite operators, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other agencies. The new rules allow for spectrum sharing between new operators and incumbents, the FCC said.

In addition to opening up the 11 GHz of spectrum, the FCC will seek public comments on making use of another 18 GHz of spectrum in eight additional high-frequency bands.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?