FCC commissioner: US in ‘great shape’ in 5G network race with China, other countries

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr in an interview that aired on Monday said that the U.S. is in great shape in its race with China and other countries to develop its own 5G network. 

“In terms of where we are, I think we’re really in great shape when it comes to the race to 5G,” Carr told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton in an interview taped earlier this month. 

Carr said that spectrum and infrastructure were the two main components to expanding the 5G network in the U.S.

“You need to make more spectrum available to win the race, and right now we’ve made more spectrum available than any other country in the world, in fact, four gigahertz more than second-place China. The other piece, though, is infrastructure, and you’re starting to see the FCC making some real significant strides,” Carr said. 

“Here’s the challenge: The deployments of 3G and 4G networks were marked by these 200-foot, 300-foot large towers. 5G is actually going to be thousands of small antennas that can be attached on utility poles. You don’t need the 200-foot towers,” he continued.

“From an infrastructure perspective, our federal rules had assumed that every new antenna is a 200-foot tower, so we’ve been in the process of updating that to make it economical to see those small cells deployed whether it’s downtown, main street, or rural America.”

The U.S. wireless industry has pressed the Trump administration and Congress to support them in the “race to 5G.”

Sprint and T-Mobile have pushed for a merger, saying they hope it would aid the U.S. in developing its 5G network.

The industry argues that an expanded 5G network will give the U.S. an economic advantage over other countries, including China.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in May said that constructing a 5G mobile broadband network is a top priority for the administration.

“We’re very much in support of 5G. We need it. We need it for defense purposes, we need it for commercial purposes,” Ross said. 

— Julia Manchester

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