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February 9, 2018

Winter Olympics Spur Global Race to 5G .

Winter Olympics Spur Global Race to 5G


Kelly Cole, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

It’s official: the 2018 Olympic Winter Games have kicked off in PyeongChang, South Korea, for Team USA and hundreds of athletes from nations around the world.

Aside from packing their skis, skates and other equipment, most of the attending athletes and officials will also have packed their smartphones to record the Games and keep connected with their families and loved ones.

These Winter Games – the first to deploy next-generation 5G wireless – also starkly highlight that the clock is ticking for the U.S. in the global race to deploy next-generation wireless.

Wireless and technology providers have teamed up to ensure the South Korean Games are the most connected to date for the athletes, ticket-holders and global spectators.

Intel is harnessing 5G for fans to connect to the Winter Games in real time via 360-degree virtual reality cameras, with bigger bandwidths and speeds that are 100 times faster than existing 4G networks.

Other wireless innovations, such as Samsung’s “SmartSuit” for short trackers which allows live data to be swapped between racers and coaches to boost training performance, will also be on display.

As will hundreds of drones lighting up the night skies above PyeongChang, all under the hand of a single pilot thanks to 5G connectivity.

It’s no coincidence that all this innovation is being showcased in tech-savvy South Korea which is vying to lead the world in the global race to 5G.

Members of Congress are, however, increasingly determined that the U.S. catch up and secure the global lead in 5G that it scored in 4G.

They know that 5G will provide enormous benefits to the U.S. economy and millions of consumers, and they don’t want America to fall behind in the new innovations it will offer from autonomous transportation, to more efficient use of power, to revolutionizing healthcare.

Over 20 bills have been introduced recently to promote 5G-related innovation and investment, and to help accelerate the deployment of new “small cell” networks to provide faster wireless connectivity.

Senators Wicker, Schatz, Gardner, Hassan, Moran, and Peters teamed up on a bipartisan 5G Resolution, while Representatives Brooks and Dingell have created a new bipartisan 5G Congressional Caucus.

On the legislative front, Representatives Lance, Doyle, Walberg, Welch, Brooks, Dingell, Guthrie, and Matsui introduced a House companion to Senators Gardner and Hassan’s AIRWAVES Act this week to establish a long-term plan for freeing up valuable licensed spectrum critical to 5G networks and skyrocketing data consumption.

This followed on the heels of Senators Wicker and Cortez Masto, and Representative Shimkus’ introduction of the SPEED Act aimed at providing a modernized federal regulatory review process for small cells that will power 5G wireless networks.

All this congressional activity shows that 5G is a bipartisan priority for lawmakers keen to drive new economic growth.

So as we cheer on Team USA, we are just as hopeful that America wins the global race to 5G which will bring home jobs, investment, and consumer benefits beyond our imagination.

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