Now is the Time to Move Forward with 12 GHz
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced plans to develop a national spectrum strategy, which I believe presents a golden opportunity to unleash American spectrum. NTIA’s announcement is fulfilling the need for a more cohesive approach to spectrum, which will reduce inter-agency squabbling and return our focus to delivering the best service to consumers.
While this is great news, its efficacy will be ultimately determined by NTIA’s ability to identify the best possible spectrum options. During my time in the U.S. House of Representatives, I worked on many spectrum issues as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The key issue then, and it remains the same today, is the availability of effective spectrum bands.
The United States currently places as the 13th best nation for available mid-band spectrum, with only 450 megahertz available. Mid-band spectrum is a key resource for enabling 5G and next generation networks. Competitors such as China already have more spectrum available and are already planning to utilize their mid-band spectrum further. Meanwhile the U.S. is sitting on 500 megahertz of readily deployable spectrum but has yet to act.
The spectrum I am referring to is the 12.2-12.7 GHz band, the easiest, most effective solution that can be enacted today. Spectrum bands so often have inherent issues ranging from poor propagation to incumbent users. The 12 GHz band is uniquely situated, its lack of federal incumbents makes it simple to unleash for additional use, and its propagation characteristics have been described as the “goldilocks” of spectrum.
Unleashing the 12 GHz band would create over one trillion dollars in societal value and would propel the U.S. back into a global leadership position in mid-band spectrum. America is facing stiff competition in the arena of spectrum availability and technological innovation, and the 12 GHz band represents one area where we have an easily achievable win-win for American industry and consumers, as long as the NTIA recognizes the opportunity they have available in the 12 GHz band.
– Chip Pickering, Co-Chair of the 5Gfor12GHz Coalition