What Is the FCC’s “5G FAST” Plan?
5G, the coming fifth-generation wireless network, promises huge disruptions around the world. Some people even believe it could launch the next industrial revolution.
Many countries have had their foot on the 5G infrastructure buildout accelerator pedal for years already. The U.S. has only recently stepped up its 5G network buildout.
I’m not surprised. For decades, the U.S. has lagged behind other countries in building out next-generation mobile networks.
That could all change with the deployment of 5G.
America’s Catch-Up Plan
President Trump has repeatedly said the U.S. must win the race to 5G. Several U.S. mobile operators already have a few limited 5G deployments.
But in regard to countrywide deployment, the U.S. is quickly falling behind China and South Korea.
By the end of this year, the U.S. will have 10,000 wide-area cellular sites deployed… And China will have 150,000.
We have a plan to catch up. And it all hinges on a special watershed event happening today.
More on that in a moment.
First, let’s outline what the country’s 5G catch-up plan is.
5G is a wireless technology that uses radio waves. In the United States, the communication airwaves are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC has a 5G implementation plan called “Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology” (the 5G FAST Plan). It has three central components…
- Push more spectrum into the market: More spectrum allows for more diverse 5G applications on both short- and long-haul links.
- Modernize outdated regulations: By doing so, the FCC will facilitate the wired backbone of 5G networks.
- Update infrastructure policy: An updated infrastructure policy will encourage and speed up private sector 5G investments. This will result in a faster and more reliable 5G wireless network.
Why Do We Need 5G?
No one has a choice on 5G. The technology is coming, and eventually the 4G network will be phased out.
The main reason we are moving from the 4G LTE network to 5G can be summarized in one word: data.
Over the last five years, our data use has increased seventeenfold.
Our desire to do anything from anywhere uses increasing amounts of data. The 4G LTE network just can’t handle the relentless, explosive increase in mobile data traffic.
But this problem all goes away on a 5G network. With 5G, users will have 100 times the data throughput they have with today’s 4G system.
Another big issue on the 4G network is signal latency. That’s the time it takes the network to respond to a request from a smartphone.
The 4G network latency is 50 milliseconds. It doesn’t sound like much, but it prohibits many mobile data applications.
That won’t be an issue on the 5G network either. Network latency will be one millisecond or less on a 5G network.
Low latency will open up real-time mobile applications like driverless vehicles, remote robotic surgery and others.
America’s Race to Deploy 5G
The economics of 5G are compelling as well. New industries in virtually every sector will provide $12.3 trillion in goods and services.
5G could support up to 22 million new jobs. Goods and services revenue from 5G will reach $3.5 trillion by 2035.
Not to mention, global GDP growth could reach $3 trillion per year thanks to 5G.
With this new network, landline phones will all but disappear. So will your home cable, DSL and satellite dish.
Everything will connect wirelessly to the internet. Your appliances, vehicles, TV screens and WiFi network will all be on the 5G platform.
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