May 27, 2020 — The future of 5G is bright and diverse, said Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in a webinar Wednesday.
The webinar, hosted by the Lincoln Policy Network, featured a discussion of upcoming FCC actions like June’s open meeting, and the Citizens Band Radio Service auction that is currently set to begin on July 23, 2020.
The agency has freed up millions of dollars in recent months for private business development of 5G technologies and has expedited the rollout of grants to areas where coverage may be limited.
There is tremendous potential for the application of 5G technologies in telehealth, remote working and more. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted not only the necessity of closing broadband access gaps but also the benefits of telehealth in an era where a mere checkup can prove fatal for immunocompromised and older individuals.
However, while much has been said about such applications, O’Rielly said it was difficult to tell precisely where 5G technology will take the world.
“Only the marketplace and consumer demand will tell us where they eventually want to go,” he said.
The FCC’s role in the development of new technologies, O’Rielly said, was to give the private sector the tools to address access inequities and encourage them to implement them beneficially for all.
“We set the environment for the private sector to take the ideas and run with [them],” he said.
By doing this, consumers receive better outcomes, and wireless companies are better able to serve those who rely on their services, he added.
“I’ve always viewed 5G as wireless broadband,” O’Rielly said, “and it's really exciting.”
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