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FCC chairman outlines plan to accelerate 5G in US

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai, has outlined the blueprint which he believes will help accelerate the development and subsequent deployment of 5G networks in the US.

The head of the FCC has acknowledged that the current regulatory framework needs to change in order to help both operators win the race to deploy the next-generation technology and US consumers seize the opportunities presented by 5G.

In an interview he conducted with Tampa Bay Times, Pai said, "There's a global race to become the first country to deploy 5G networks, with China, South Korea and Japan offering strong competition. But we want the United States to lead in 5G. We need to remove regulatory barriers that can slow network buildout."

The FCC chairman also highlighted that 5G networks will require thousands of small cells that are densely packed together which relatively less conspicuous and at operating lower power. However, this will force the regulator to update its rules to make it clear that this smaller infrastructure shouldn't trigger reviews that are designed for 200ft tall towers.

In addition to this, spectrum and its allocation was also high on the FCC's agenda and the watchdog has recently voted to seek public input on procedures for a spectrum auction which has been scheduled to commence on November 14th with another one to follow immediately thereafter. The aim is to repurpose under-used high-band frequencies for 5G.

There was speculation months ago that the Trump administration was seriously considering nationalizing 5G due to national security concerns. However, the FCC strongly condemned the alleged proposal at the time, although it has conceded that security remains a hot topic.

Pai said, "FCC subsidies would not be available for networks from companies that raise national security concerns. Unfortunately, companies can use hidden backdoors in their network equipment to allow hostile foreign governments to spy on Americans, inject viruses, steal data and more."