Simple & Sweet – The 12 GHz Solution
Over 50 years ago, the Apollo 11 mission successfully landed astronauts on the moon using a 70-pound, $3.5 million computer. Compared to that computer, the current iPhone is more than 32,000 times faster. Yes, you read that correctly. A nearly six-inch iPhone has more computing speed than the spacecraft America landed on the moon. Technology is always evolving; we cannot rely on past successes to guide us through the challenges of the future. Given technology’s increasingly rapid evolution, it’s great to see the Biden Administration realize that to keep pace with the demands of a modern network tomorrow, we need to act today and are championing a $45 billion “Internet for All” campaign as one of its policy priorities.
As co-chairman of the 5G for 12 GHz Coalition, with more than 35 prominent organizations, public interest groups, and companies aiming to supercharge America’s 5G network, I focus on collaboration. Most recently, my association brought together congressional leaders, government officials, academics, and the spectrum industry to the INCOMPAS Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. to hear first-hand about the most pressing issues and potential solutions facing policymakers today. One of the most interesting topics of the Summit was a panel discussion of former FCC commissioners who explained why the FCC should open 500 megahertz in the 12.2-12.7 GHz spectrum band for higher power, two-way terrestrial use. If the FCC acts the benefits would impact multiple sectors of the U.S. economy, such as agriculture, education, and technology.
The 12 GHz band presents one of the most promising regulatory opportunities for the country today and it goes beyond just bolstering our economy. The wireless industry is an active front in the growing competition between the U.S. and China, and China has eclipsed the U.S. as the world’s largest investor in 5G research and development. It is one of the most important modern arenas of competition, and our country is starting to fall behind.
It is not often we are presented with truly generational opportunities, where a small change can have a massive, tangible impact. Opening the 12 GHz band would do just that, supercharging our 5G networks, and creating over a trillion dollars in societal wealth through just one regulatory decision. The 12 GHz band would also bring along immense benefits for consumers, ranging from increased competition, to cost savings, to decreased time-to-deployment for new networks.
This monumental opportunity could not have come at a more decisive time as spectrum has never been more in demand than it is today. The 12 GHz band is five times larger than any other mid-band spectrum asset ready to move this year, all while having zero federal encumbrances. Such a golden opportunity for spectrum expansion simply cannot be missed. Opening the 12 GHz band is crucial to solidifying America’s 5G leadership over competitors like China. The Commission must seize this opportunity and move forward in modernizing the 12 GHz band without further delay.
The merits of opening 12 GHz spectrum are inarguable, it represents an amazingly rare win-win spectrum opportunity for consumers, the wireless industry, and our telecom leaders. We cannot be afraid to embrace the technology of tomorrow. We’ve made tremendous progress from moon landings to cellphones in just 50 years. Opening 12 GHz can help us prepare for what comes our way in the next 50 years.