Committee Leaders Urge FCC Chairman to Speed Deployment of Spectrum for 5G

May 13, 2019

WASHINGTON – On Friday, U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging the commission to redouble its efforts to make mid-band spectrum available for 5G.

Excerpt from the letter to Chairman Pai:

“American leadership in Fifth Generation telecommunications technology (5G) is critical for the economic well-being and security of America. Winning the race to 5G requires world-leading technology, access to spectrum on which 5G systems will operate, and the ability to deploy services to the American people, including Americans in rural areas.” 

“While American companies and those of other western nations are leading the way on technology, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plays a crucial role with regard to spectrum and deployment. Under your leadership, the FCC has made enormous progress in addressing both of these issues. In particular, the FCC has streamlined deployment and moved prudently but with great speed to bring millimeter wave spectrum to the market, completing successful auctions for spectrum in the 24 GHz and 28 GHz bands, and preparing for auctions in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands.”

“As the Commission has noted, mid-band spectrum offers favorable signal range and indoor penetration combined with increased capacity that comes from frequency reuse; this makes mid-band spectrum particularly important for the initial deployment of 5G. This is especially the case in America’s rural areas, where population density makes deployment of millimeter wave spectrum less economical than in urban areas. Currently, the United States lags far behind our competitors in the availability of mid-band spectrum for 5G. While Citizens Band Radio Service will make 70 MHz of licensed spectrum available under a novel licensing scheme, much more is needed.”

In MOBILE NOW Congress directed the FCC to evaluate commercial wireless use of spectrum in the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz band, and the Commission has begun the process. In the year since passage of that law, the need for action has become even more acute. It has been estimated that accelerating infrastructure deployment by one year could drive an additional $100 billion in economic impact in the next three years. Therefore, we urge the Commission to act quickly to make spectrum in the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz band available for 5G.”

Read the full letter to Chairman Pai here. The committee exercises jurisdiction over the FCC.