FCC frees up high-frequency spectrum for 5G

15 Jul 2016

The Federal Communications (FCC) has adopted new rules for wireless broadband operations in frequencies above 24GHz, and in doing so has claimed that the US is the first country in the world to make this spectrum available for next generation wireless services. The watchdog says that its new rules ‘set a strong foundation for the rapid advancement to next generation 5G networks and technologies’. The FCC has opened up nearly 11GHz of high-frequency spectrum for wireless broadband purposes, comprising 3.85GHz of licensed spectrum and 7GHz of unlicensed spectrum. Specifically, the watchdog has created a new ‘Upper Microwave Flexible Use’ service in the 28GHz (27.5GHz-28.35GHz), 37GHz (37GHz-38.6GHz) and 39GHz (38.6GHz-40GHz) bands, and a new unlicensed band at 64GHz-71GHz.

Noting that 5G technologies are still under development, the regulator suggests that, by putting rules in place at this juncture, it will provide vital clarity for business investment in this area. The FCC’s official statement adds: ‘These rules balance different spectrum access approaches, including exclusive use licensing, shared access, and unlicensed access, in order to meet a variety of different needs and use cases. The Commission also adopted other flexible service and technical rules to allow new technologies and innovations to evolve and flourish without needlessly prescriptive regulations’.

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)