The FCC has unanimously ruled that carriers have an open sandbox to play in as they muster efforts towards 5G in the US.
Specifically, spectrum above the 24GHz mark will be purposed for 5G with 3.85GHz of licensed space in the 28GHz, 37GHz and 39GHz bands. A continuous, unlicensed swath between 64GHz and 71GHz has opened up, the same swath that unlicensed Wi-Fi is experimenting in right now. The commission is seeking public comment on allocating eight more bands above the 95GHz line.
Satellite operators have been concerned particularly with their 28GHz operations being interfered with at the terrestrial level, but FCC chairman Tom Wheeler wasn’t particularly swayed by research on either side of the issue. Still, he promised to keep re-examine arguments if new points prove sufficiently challenging.
“I do believe this is one of the, if not the most, important decision this agency will make this year,” Wheeler said in remarks. “By not getting involved in the technologies that will use the spectrum, we’re turning loose the incredible innovators of this country.”
Major carriers and the CTIA welcomed the 5-0 vote for the most part. There are still kinks that the cellular and satellite industries couldn’t smooth out, but the hope is that the arrangement will not affect extraterrestrial transmission while proving a net plus for us interconnected device geeks down on the ground.