FCC Opens Up Experimental Spectrum for 6G Testing
The launch of 5G isn’t even really a totally done deal yet, but that’s not stopping U.S. regulators and tech companies from starting to turn their attention ahead to the next-next generation of wireless connectivity. As reported by CNET, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted this past Friday to begin opening up experimental “terahertz wave” spectrum that could eventually help pave the way for 6G products and services.
This particular spectrum falls in the 95 GHz to 3 THz range, whereas the 5G band sits between 6 GHz and 100 GHz.
“This spectrum has long been considered the outermost horizon of the usable spectrum range, but rapid advancements in radio technology have made these bands especially ripe for new development,” the FCC said in a statement. “There are substantial opportunities for innovation in these frequencies, especially for dataintensive high-bandwidth applications as well as imaging and sensing operations. Prior to this decision, the Commission had no rules for authorizing communications above 95 GHz, other than by amateur operators or through experiments of limited duration and scope.”
These licenses will enable innovators and tech companies to experiment for up to 10 years, which, according to the FCC, will help ensure that the U.S. stays at the forefront of wireless innovation.
Of course, the talk of 6G technology comes at a time when the world has yet to see the widespread deployment of 5G connectivity. Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona saw nearly every major player in the smartphone space put forth their 5G-ready smartphones and other products. But here in the U.S., 5G will only start to roll out in a handful of major markets this year. Sprint only recently confirmed it would turn 5G services on in nine cities by the end of 2019—the same number that AT&T will see go live with their 5G network—while T-Mobile and Verizon plan to launch in 30 markets apiece.
So, the prospect of work starting on the future of wireless connectivity while we’re still waiting for the other future of wireless connectivity that we’ve been promised seems all too exciting. But that formerly talked about future is likely a decade or more away from becoming a reality.
What We’re Reading
- Cinema-grade camera maker Red confirmed that it’s working to overhaul its recently released HYDRODEN smartphone after pushback that the device didn’t ship with cameras made by the company. (Red forum)
- Despite some local opposition—though not nearly to the extent of what was experienced in New York City—Amazon cleared a critical HQ2 hurdle in Virginia. (Engadget)
- Tesla reverses course on store closures and will instead increase prices on its cars—with the exception of the promised $35,000 starting price for the Model 3. (PC Mag)