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November 16, 2017

Moving America an Important Step Closer to the 5G Frontier .

    Moving America an Important Step Closer to the 5G Frontier

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    CTIA SVP Scott Bergmann
    Scott Bergmann
    Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

    America is in a race toward 5G. We’re competing against countries around the world. At stake? The economic and consumer benefits that flow from leading the world in the next generation of wireless.

    With the right spectrum and infrastructure policies in place, there is no doubt that the U.S. will win the 5G race. That’s why we want to thank Chairman Pai and his fellow commissioners for their actions today demonstrating their continued focus on each of these issues.

    On spectrum, the FCC has now resolved the remaining issues needed to make available three key bands previously identified in their 2016 Order, and we hope this will enable the Commission to move forward with an auction of these bands next year. The FCC also identified a new set of airwaves that will help meet America’s high-band spectrum needs and expressed its commitment to moving forward with additional bands in the first half of next year.

    On infrastructure, the agency modernized historic preservation regulations on utility poles and substantially similar poles, a key home for wireless infrastructure like antennas.

    This is important because when policymakers clear the way for wireless investment, consumers and the economy win.

    Just look at the last decade when the U.S. wireless industry invested more than $200 billion to build 4G networks that cover 99.7% of the country. Our investment helped build a $400 billion a year economic engine that supports more than 4.6 million jobs.

    Now, as the European Union and countries like China and South Korea race to build 5G networks, the U.S. wireless industry is expected to invest another $275 billion to build the next generation of economic growth, according to Accenture.

    5G will enable entirely new applications and transform existing industries. That’s powerful, and America’s business community gets it.

    In a survey released last month, 70 percent of business leaders in sectors like health care, transportation, energy, and manufacturing said the U.S. must win the 5G race to stay economically competitive. And 80 percent said 5G will positively impact their business.

    That’s why policies that promote 5G investment and innovation are critical. The Commission today largely maintains its carefully crafted consensus approach for sharing high-band spectrum between the licensed mobile and satellite industries. The Commission has given the satellite industry ample opportunity to access spectrum for free, in addition to competing with the wireless industry to purchase rights to use these new high bands. We are confident that the wireless industry will put these high bands to use to benefit consumers and our economy.

    By enabling wireless providers to access to this spectrum, the FCC recognized the significant resources that our industry commits to bringing new products and services to market, in reliance on those previously adopted rules. Underscoring how quickly the wireless industry moves, some of those products and services may be deployed next year.

    But the work of innovators and policymakers is never done.

    As countries across the globe free up more airwaves for the next generation of wireless, the FCC should keep its foot on the gas.

    That means making available additional low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum for terrestrial mobile wireless and moving forward with an auction next year of the previously allocated bands. And that means a continued focus on wireless infrastructure reform that spurs investment and creates jobs by cutting red tape.

    With today’s votes, the FCC has moved us another step closer to our 5G future.

     

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