The United States has a real opportunity to lead in the next generation of 5G wireless connectivity, but doing so will require adequate public airwaves be made available to carry all the data. The so-called “C-band”—from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz—is widely seen as an ideal swath of spectrum for the job, as it offers an attractive balance of geographic coverage and capacity for large amounts of data. The global device ecosystem using these frequencies also has real momentum, with 23 countries and counting having allocated them for 5G. But transitioning a portion of the C-band from its current, important use—distributing live television programming to cable systems throughout the nation via satellite—will be no easy feat. The FCC has announced it will auction this spectrum in short order, but key questions remain.
ITIF welcomed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to announce the next steps in repurposing a large portion of C-band spectrum to fuel 5G deployment in the United States.
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