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5G Will Disrupt Every Part of the U.S. Economy, Predicts FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Liana Sowa

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Screenshot of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai from the event

October 7, 2020 – The 5G wireless standard will disrupt every part of the economy, affecting transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said at a virtual technology conference hosted by Nvidia on Wednesday.

Pai singled out agriculture as being one of the more interesting use cases.

He pointed to the agency’s 5G Rural Fund, which will provide up to $1 billion to support deployment fiber in rural areas. Additionally, he hoped to shine a light on artificial intelligence and machine learning to benefit parts of the country where companies are reluctant to invest.

Pai also stressed the importance of government allowing AI business officials to invest in AI without regulations or restrictions that stand in the way of innovation.

He specifically emphasized AI’s role in 5G by helping to divide up bandwidth between providers.

Soma Velayutham, moderator of the session and global industry development lead for telecoms at American graphics chip manufacturer Nvida, pointed to this capability of spectrum or “network slicing” as a network change beyond just network connectivity, stating that 5G does to the network what the iPhone did with apps.

See “Broadband Breakfast Live Online Launches ‘A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G’ Event Series,” Broadband Breakfast, October 7, 2020

Asked to envision the ideal state of technology deployment in five to 10 years, Pai said he saw the digital divide closed, the U.S. continuing to lead the world in AI, 5G, and associated technologies, and strong investment attracting capital to the country.

He also said he hoped for stronger, more secure networks where the cybersecurity risks we see now won’t be realized.

Pai summarized his 5G plan to free up more spectrum for the commercial marketplace, make it easier to deploy wireless infrastructure of the future such as small cell technology, and modernize regulations to promote more fiber deployment.

He said his plan would put America back in the 5G race.

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