WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, at the FCC’s monthly open meeting, the Commission voted to open up high-frequency spectrum bands, paving the way for 5G mobile broadband, the Internet of Things, and other new experimental wireless technologies. The new rules open 11 GHz of spectrum for flexible use wireless services — 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum. The vote makes the United States the first country in the world to successfully identify and open up high band, millimeter-wave spectrum to be used for 5G wireless service.

Freeing up the airwaves is essential for addressing the looming spectrum crunch and ongoing explosion in demand for mobile broadband,” said Tom Struble, Policy Counsel at TechFreedom. “While the FCC’s minority Commissioners felt that the initial proposal didn’t go far enough, in terms of exploring and opening up the highest spectrum bands for experimental uses, their concerns were largely addressed in today’s order, which garnered bipartisan support. The Commission could have moved much faster here, as applications for new high-band wireless services  have been in limbo for several years, despite the 12-month statutory deadline for ruling on such applications, but this is nonetheless a great step forward.”

5G and other millimeter-wave services have the potential to help close the Digital Divide, support the burgeoning Internet of Things, and enable wireless providers to compete head-to-head with wireline incumbents in the home broadband market,” continued Struble. “To that end, we hope the FCC will continue down this path of fostering open-ended innovation and experimentation with new technologies. Rather than earmarking certain bands for specific favored applications and services, the FCC must continue to allow innovators and entrepreneurs to experiment and decide for themselves how best to utilize this spectrum. And to that end, the FCC must now act expeditiously to complete the IP-transition and facilitate deployment of the backhaul infrastructure needed to support the impending wireless revolution.”


We can be reached at media@techfreedom.org, and see our other work on spectrum, including:

  • Our blog post on Wi-Fi favoritism in unlicensed spectrum
  • Our comments on the FCC’s spectrum frontiers proposal