- As preparations continue for 5G rollout, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said the United States should start planning for 6G, the next generation.
- FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said 6G will involve speeds "a thousand times faster" than 5G using terahertz frequency, as well as densified networks thanks to base stations embedded in every piece of tech human beings use.
- "If you comb back in time, it was around this time 12 years ago that the first discussions of 5G took place," Rosenworcel said during an event last week on 5G hosted by media company Politico. "I planted a flag in it and decided to start talking about it my vision for 6G. I think just as with 5G, it's important that the United States lead."
Rosenworcel's comments may appear to be putting the cart before the horse, especially as 5G is a way off and still the subject of wrangling by telecom companies as they battle for supremacy in the field.
But it is something that she has encouraged industry leaders and governments to look toward, and has suggested that blockchain could help with dynamic spectrum sharing, another use for a developing technology that is rapidly becoming a useful tool for cities.
In her remarks, Rosenworcel said while the US has 5% of the world’s population, for a time it had deployed around 50% of the world's 4G, and through that advantage was able to foster a new and flourishing gig economy built in part by apps including Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.
"We can see the benefits of that today," Rosenworcel said. "The smartphone revolution happened here on our shores, and the application economy got its start here."
Rosenworcel made similar comments at the Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles earlier this month, and has received praise for her forward-thinking approach, including from the Free State Foundation, a free market think tank in Maryland.
While 6G may seem a long way off, especially with 5G still in the testing phase, the benefits of looking toward the future are considerable. And while the United States has trailed the likes of China and South Korea in 5G, Rosenworcel's call that the US must "make an effort to lead" should galvanize those in the telecoms community to look ahead, however far off it may seem.