Thursday, the FCC made a record-setting vote to free up spectrum above the 24GHz area for wireless networks, paving the way for widespread 5G network development. The super fast networks could very well power the next wave of the technological revolution worldwide, and the United States is the first country to make a federal effort to prepare for 5G networking, with Thursday's vote. Roughly 11 GHz of spectrum are now up for grabs to facilitate 5G network development, and the White House has announced an initiative to help with early testing and ensure that network providers in the States make the most of every MHz of spectrum on offer.
The new plan runs to the tune of $400 million, and sees the Obama administration, and hopefully the administration of whoever wins this year's election, setting up, maintaining and running live tests in four different "city-scale testing platforms", where the federal government will be partnering up with wireless network providers and equipment manufacturers to find ways to maximize the rollout of the new network technology, looking to minimize cost while maximizing coverage and signal strength. Called the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, the push is being spearheaded by the National Science Foundation, and is set to include a number of other investments going into the hundreds of millions of dollars, before all is said and done when the project concludes in ten years.
Further in the announcement letter, a basic rundown of how the test will happen in each rig is given. In a "city-scale" environment, perhaps even a real city, equipment will be installed and operated just like a carrier operating a 5G commercial network. These test networks, running on the super-high spectrum that the FCC voted to free up, will be put to the test in various ways to see if they're fast and stable enough for things like future mobile devices, self-driving cars and smart city applications. The National Science Foundation also took the chance to announce two contests to test communication restoration after a disaster and low-cost urban networks, as well as multi-million dollar networking partnerships with the likes of Intel and the Academy of Finland, and finally, the initiation of a Millimeter Wave Research Coordination Network.