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Nick Wakeman

FCC paves the way for next wireless revolution

It likely won’t get the attention that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will get for his vice presidential pick or any of the other political news that will break today and tomorrow or over the next week. But still the FCC’s unanimous decision to open up the airwaves for 5G wireless will likely have a profound impact will beyond today’s headlines.

The FCC voted unanimously on Thursday to adopt new rules for wireless broadband in the frequency above 24GHz. That makes the U.S. the first country to make that spectrum available for wireless services. The new rule makes available nearly 11 GHz of high frequency spectrum.

I won’t pretend to understand the nuances of what that means and from what I’ve read it’ll be years before the wireless carriers have 5G technology in our hands.

But when you think about things like the Internet of Things and all of the implications that has, opening this spectrum is a huge deal.

It is also important to note that the vote was unanimous so this is a move that has bipartisan support.

The FCC has plenty of work still to do in implementing the rules needed to make this work but from a global competitiveness perspective being a first mover should give the U.S. some advantage for a while. Industry also has to develop the technologies that 5G will enable.

An Intel blog published Thursday talked about myriad applications for 5G including industrial automation, health care, connected cars and smart cities. It will be several years before today’s actions translate into business opportunities but it is coming.

And the impact will be more than a Pokémon Go craze.

I can't help but think that all the mobile and wireless advances we've seen in the last decade have just been scratching at the surface.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 14, 2016 at 11:44 AM

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