Under Chairman Pai, the FCC is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology (the 5G FAST Plan). The Chairman’s strategy includes three key components: (1) pushing more spectrum into the marketplace; (2) updating infrastructure policy; and (3) modernizing outdated regulations.
The FCC is taking action to make additional spectrum available for 5G services.
- High-band: The FCC has made auctioning high-band, millimeter-wave spectrum a priority. The FCC will hold its first 5G spectrum auctions this year in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands. In 2019, the FCC will auction the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. With these auctions, the FCC will release almost 5 gigahertz of 5G spectrum into the market—more than all other flexible use bands combined. And we are working to free up another 2.75 gigahertz of 5G spectrum in the 26 and 42 GHz bands.
- Mid-band: Mid-band spectrum has become a target for 5G buildout given its balanced coverage and capacity characteristics. With our work on the 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz, and 3.7-4.2 GHz bands, we could make up to 844 megahertz available for 5G deployments.
- Low-band: The FCC is acting to improve use of low-band spectrum (useful for wider coverage) for 5G services, with targeted changes to the 600 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands.
- Unlicensed: Recognizing that unlicensed spectrum will be important for 5G, the agency is creating new opportunities for the next generation of Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz and above 95 GHz band.
The FCC is updating infrastructure policy and encouraging the private sector to invest in 5G networks.
- Speeding Up Federal Review of Small Cells: The FCC adopted new rules that will reduce federal regulatory impediments to deploying the small-cell infrastructure needed for 5G (as opposed to large cell towers) and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service.
- Speeding Up State and Local Review of Small Cells: The FCC has reformed rules designed decades ago to accommodate small cells. The reforms ban short-sighted municipal roadblocks that have the effect of prohibiting deployment of 5G and give states and localities a reasonable deadline to approve or disapprove small-cell siting applications.
Modernizing Outdated Regulations
The FCC is modernizing outdated regulations to promote 5G backhaul and digital opportunity for all Americans.
- Restoring Internet Freedom: To lead the world in 5G, the United States needs to encourage investment and innovation while protecting Internet openness and freedom. The FCC adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which sets a consistent national policy for Internet providers.
- One-Touch Make-Ready: The FCC has updated its rules governing the attachment of new network equipment to utility poles in order to reduce cost and speed up the process for 5G backhaul deployment.
- Speeding the IP Transition: The FCC has revised its rules to make it easier for companies to invest in next-generation networks and services instead of the fading networks of the past.
- Business Data Services: In order to incentivize investment in modern fiber networks, the FCC updated rules for high-speed, dedicated services by lifting rate regulation where appropriate.
- Supply Chain Integrity: The FCC has proposed to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose a national security threat to the integrity of American communications networks or the communications supply chain.
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