Wheeler: 5G Spectrum Decision by Summer

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler says that the FCC should be wrapping up its inquiry into freeing up upper-band spectrum for 5G (millimeter wave band) wireless and authorizing its use sometime "this summer."

The FCC has been seeking comment on opening up those higher-frequency bands above 24 GHz for wireless broadband and is being pushed to allow for multiple uses on multiple platforms.

The FCC voted in October 2014 and opened the notice of inquiry on using spectrum above 24 GHz for wireless and facilitating its deployment.

Wheeler signaled an item was on the way in a Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing March 2. He said he couldn't say whether there would be a high-band spectrum auction next year, citing issues still being worked out over coordinating with incumbent users of the band.

He had an eager audience, given that the committee March 3 is marking up the MOBILE Now Act, whose goal is to goose the effort to free up spectrum for 5G.

Wheeler also said the FCC was on track to complete its small-cell proceedings by the end of the year.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.