FCC Chairman Ajit Pai touted the commission’s progress in allocating spectrum for 5G, modernizing small cell regulations and expanding broadband in unserved areas in his statement during the congressional oversight hearingbefore theHouse Committee on Energy and Commerce.
He described the litany of planned spectrum auctions beginning 28 GHz band, followed by 24 GHz band auction and then the 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. The Commission is also looking at other spectrum bands, including 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz, 3.7-4.2 GHz, 6 GHz, 26 GHz and 42 GHz.
“The FCC is moving forward aggressively to hold auctions and move a substantial amount of spectrum into the commercial marketplace. Combined, these auctions will make 4.95 GHz of spectrum available to the private sector and advance America’s global leadership in the deployment of the next generation of wireless connectivity, or 5G,” he said.
Pai said the FCC is working to improve its infrastructure policy as well as its spectrum policy in order to facilitate 5G. Earlier this year, the Commission decided small cells would no longer be subject to historic preservation and environmental review processes that were designed for traditional large towers.
“We can make all of the spectrum in the world available for 5G service, but it won’t make a difference if the physical infrastructure isn’t in place to carry this traffic,” Pai said. “And the private sector will need to install a lot of physical infrastructure because we know that the wireless networks of the future will be much more densified than the networks of today.”
Additionally, Pai noted that the Connect America Fund Phase II reverse auction began this week, which will provide up to $2 billion fixed broadband services in unserved areas.
“Through this first-of-its-kind multi-round reverse auction, a wide variety of providers, including rural electric cooperatives, fixed wireless providers, incumbent local exchange carriers, cable companies, and satellite providers, are competing for universal support funding to expand broadband deployment,” Pai said.