Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday urged the US to step forward as a leader in developing a 5G wireless standard.
In prepared remarks, Wheeler said the interconnected world we live in today is the result of decisions we made a decade ago and that the interconnected world of the future will be the result of decisions we must make today. That, he said, is why 5G is a national priority and why this coming Thursday, Wheeler will be circulating proposed new rules to colleagues that will identify and open up vast amounts of spectrum for 5G applications.
Wheeler labeled it the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, describing it as the final piece in the spectrum trifecta of low-band, mid-band and high-band airwaves that will open up unprecedented amounts of spectrum, speed the rollout of next-generation wireless networks and re-define network connectivity for years to come.
The FCC plans to vote on the proceedings on July 14. Wheeler said he is confident these actions will lead to a cornucopia of unanticipated innovative uses and generate tens of billions of dollars in economic activity.
As confident as Wheeler is, it’s important to remember that 5G wireless technology is still many years away. Verizon announced last year that it planned to conduct field tests of 5G in 2016 and talked up the tech in a big way. AT&T, however, was quick to herd expectations although it’s unclear if AT&T was simply trying to discredit Verizon’s achievements or dish out a bit of damage control in the event its research into the matter isn’t as far along.