FILE PHOTO: 3d printed objects representing 5G are put on a motherboard in this picture illustration taken April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic /Illustration
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday unveiled plans to auction off 100 megahertz of midband spectrum for use starting in mid-2022, part of U.S. efforts to ramp up fifth-generation network coverage.
The Federal Communications Commission will be able to auction this spectrum beginning in December 2021, and the wireless industry could be using it by summer of the following year, White House adviser and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said on a briefing call with reporters.
The megahertz to be auctioned, identified by the White House and the Department of Defense, “allows us to maximize 5G availability of spectrum without compromising national security,” he said.
The advanced wireless network is expected eventually to connect and enable high-speed video transmissions and self-driving cars, among other uses.
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai praised the announcement.
“This is a key milestone in securing United States leadership in 5G,” Pai said. “Together with the spectrum being made available for 5G in the C-band as well as the 3.5 GHz band, we are now on track to have a 530-megahertz swath of midband spectrum available for 5G from 3.45 to 3.98 GHz. The FCC looks forward to moving quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45 GHz band and then hold an auction to bring this prime midband spectrum to market.”
Midband spectrum is critical for 5G because it offers “both geographic coverage and the capacity to transmit large amounts of data — a combination that is appealing to entrepreneurs and wireless consumers alike,” Pai said previously.
Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Oatis