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FCC's new 5G push could mean faster phones, rural broadband and more money for the United States



You keep hearing about 5G, but you may not know why?

It was in the news again Monday. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he is calling for a public auction of airwaves that are currently used by satellite companies (the so-called C-band spectrum) for new fifth generation wireless networks or 5Gs you've heard so much about. [19659003] The timing of Pai almost coincided with the announcement of a bill by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) And Senator John Thune (R-SD) demanding that the FCC "conduct a public auction of the C-band's spectrum." This also requires the auction to start before December 31

, 2020.

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So what does this mean?

Well, according to chipmaker Qualcomm, 5G will "lift the mobile network to not only connect people, but also interconnect and control machines, objects and devices. It will deliver new levels of performance and efficiency that will enhance new user experiences and connect new industries. "

Or as Verizon tells you on the site: "It is expected to be one of the fastest wireless technologies ever created."

But it's not just about speed. Rural – currently underserved in the broadband market – could see new funding opportunities from a public 5G auction that Pai recently outlined.

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Expanded and faster broadband is something everyone wants, not everyone wants to rush these auctions, like satellite companies because billions of dollars are at stake. They do not own the "spectrum" they have just used for the past four decades, or they use it to "broadcast programming to 120 million American homes," according to C-Band Alliance, a consortium of satellite companies that includes Intelsat and SES. This group claims that the FCC lacks the authority to take over and run an auction without compensating them.

AT&T, which owns satellite service, DirecTV and is the country's largest mobile phone provider, does not disagree. "As we said before, every way forward must chart a course for a fair, open and transparent auction; compensation to C-Band rights holders for relinquishing rights and moving services; US Treasury revenue and a clear and reasonable transition plan which ensures broadcasters, programmers and ground station operators that their services are not interrupted and that their relocation costs will be reimbursed, "said Joan Marsh, AT&T Executive Vice President for Regulatory and State External Affairs in a statement.

A public auction under the auspices of the FCC could lead to more money for the government. Any dividend will go directly to the Treasury. Over the past 25 years, the FCC has conducted 93 auctions with a net $ 116 billion for the Treasury. The C-Band alliance has said it would not leave the US Treasury empty-handed if it was allowed to hold the auction privately. An official estimated it could be as much as $ 8 billion.

Leading the charge to pressure the FCC to push for a public auction has been Senator John Kennedy (R-La.). In a recent Senate floor speech, Kennedy said he urged the FCC to hold a public auction, take some of the $ 60 billion they will get and spend it on rural broadband to ensure that people living in rural areas are safeguarded as well as the people living in the cities. "

Kennedy also argues that 5G is a matter of nationalism and national security. Notice that some of the satellite companies are headquartered outside the U. S., Intelsat, for example, is based in Luxembourg, Kennedy said: "Our job is not to maximize profits for foreign companies. Our job is to help our people, and this 5G has implications for national security. Before we give these 5G airwaves to a foreign company, we need to know who they are going to give it to. What if they give it to China? "

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Competition with China is a 5G front issue, a 2018 Deloitte report said China has surpassed the US by about $ 24 billion in 5G wireless infrastructure since 2015.

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FCC's Pai has warned that China's spending – and lead – on the 5G front could lead to the creation of "two different internet sites" which Pai added will be "anything that is unlucky for consumers and can be dangerous in the long run. "


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