- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold two auctions for high-band frequency spectrum in the fall in order to facilitate the deployment of 5G technology. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote in a Medium post that commissioners will vote to finalize the rules for the auctions at their August 2 meeting.
- The rules will cover an auction on the 28 GHz band in November, with another on the 24 GHz band to follow. Pai also said the FCC would go ahead with another auction of three more millimeter-wave spectrum bands. "These will be the first auctions of high-band spectrum for 5G services, but they won’t be the last," he wrote.
- The commission will also examine a proposal that will more quickly prepare utility poles for the infrastructure needed for 5G.
Providers are surging forward to get their customers access to 5G wireless technology, which could deliver wireless and broadband speeds 100 times faster than 4G networks. So far, not much high-band spectrum (which can handle more data and traffic) has been made available to carriers, so the auction will help accelerate development.
Sprint has announced it will include nine cities in its early 2019 5G rollout, including New York City, Kansas City, MO and Phoenix, and says its merger with T-Mobile will help accelerate deployment. Meanwhile, Verizon has said it will launch in some cities by the end of the year. AT&T likewise has promised 12 cities will get 5G rollout in 2018, and announced fixed 5G wireless trials in South Bend, IN last month.
Beyond offering faster wireless and broadband to customers, wider deployment of 5G will help advance connected vehicles and infrastructure technology that smart cities are eyeing. In a statement to USA Today, Pai said 5G is "the building block to a world where everything that can be connected will be connected," including wireless sensors that can monitor health and connect to doctors. Combined with the infrastructure moves, the FCC’s 5G plans should be seen as a key step for cities looking ahead to connected technology.