November 2, 2020 – Issues about radio frequency spectrum, municipal rights-of-way, national security and trusted partners were among the topics addressed during the October 14 kickoff event of Broadband Breakfast’s “A No Nonsense Guide to 5G.”
The event, the first of five events in a new Broadband Breakfast Live Online series sponsored by Samsung Electronics America, framed the discussion of the topic with experts including Blair Levin, former director of the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan under President Barack Obama; John Godfrey, senior vice president of public policy for Samsung; Grant Spellmeyer, vice president of federal affairs US Cellular; Jamie Susskind, vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for the Consumer Technology Association; and Art King, director of enterprise services at Corning Optical Communication.
From a business and consumer perspective, mused Levin, one of the biggest obstacle to expanded 5G deployment is consumers’ unwillingness to pay more for benefits that have not been clearly described.
Levin, who is nonresident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, said he disagreed with the theory that if you drive down the price of deployment in San Jose, you’ll get deployment in Montana. “No one on Wall Street believes that,” explained Levin, who spent a lot of his career as a Wall Street analyst.
Verizon, Levin said, recently said it would drop the extra $10 they were charging for 5G plans. Levin assumed that this was because people weren’t willing to pay. When there’s a new capital expenditure without an increasing average revenue per user, that’s a problem for Wall Street investors, he said.
That’s why to providers need to provide greater clarity on what the return on investment will be.
Levin further claimed that the FCC’s approach to improving 5G infrastructure siting involved simply a transference of wealth from cities to private sector companies who have no obligation to deploy anywhere. He argued that this made cities the enemy and slowed rather than accelerating deployment.
Spellmeyer agreed with Levin in that making enemies with municipalities wasn’t a good long-term strategy. But he also said that even if the cost were spread among consumers that there would still need to be tremendous investments in advanced networks over time.
By contrast, South Korea has experienced widespread deployment in spite of 5G being made more expensive, noted Godfrey, of Samsung. He also said that enterprise applications of 5G are likely to open significant new revenue sources, including machine-to-machine communications over networks, and with enterprises paying for managed network services.
Perspectives on the universal service fund and licensed versus unlicensed spectrum
Susskind of the Consumer Technology Association said that the FCC should make plans to wean recipients off of Universal Service Fund programs because it is not sustainable to have a 25 percent USF contribution factor.
On the other hand, CTA has been supportive of other creative solutions to close the digital divide, such as Amazon’s Kuiper project and the Microsoft “white spaces” project.
Panelists also discussed the wireless versus wireline debate, as well as the issues of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Godfrey said all were necessary.
He also suggested a 5G hype-busting test: When people talk about the benefits of 5G, are the things they’re talking about things that can just be done over Wi-Fi or do they need the unique capabilities of 5G for?
Said panelist Art King of Corning Optical Communication: “In general, operators are allergic to unlicensed spectrum.”
Spellmeyer agreed, projecting that licensed will be more important than unlicensed.
The event was moderated by Drew Clark, editor and publisher of Broadband Breakfast.
‘A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G’ sponsored by:
Events in “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G” include:
- Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: The Hype and the Reality of 5G”
- This opening panel will set the stage for Broadband Breakfast Live Online’s consideration of the policy, technology and practical questions around the 5G wireless standard. What is 5G, and why is there so much buzz about it? How much of an improvement is it over prior generations of wireless? In other words: What is real, and what is hype? How the issues of trusted partners, rights-of-way deployment, and spectrum policy interact? Where is 5G seeing early successes, and what are the stumbling blocks?”
- Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: National Security and Trusted Partners”
- This panel will consider the global landscape for the 5G equipment ecosystem. It will consider issues in core networks, radio access networks and in handset equipment. How has the global landscape changed? Will 5G benefit from – or suffer because of – a new Cold War with China? How are American companies reacting to federal government initiatives for trusted partners? Where can the U.S. turn for solutions and alternatives to Chinese manufacturers?
- Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: A Case Study of Transformative Apps in the Enterprise”
- 5G is seeing its first real successes in the enterprise marketplace. To glimpse the future more accurately, Broadband Breakfast Live Online will consider case studies of applications in enterprise environments. What technologies and processes bring 5G success to the business marketplace? What needs to happen to bring 5G successes to the consumer marketplace?
- Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Wireless Infrastructure, Municipal Rights-of-Way and the 5G Rural Fund”
- To realize the promise of 5G, far more base stations — wireless infrastructure facilities — will be necessary. 5G facilities and towers may not be as big as in previous generations of wireless technology. Still, the need for far more facilities has already created tensions with municipalities over rights-of-way. How can these conflicts be minimized? What are smart cities already doing to expedite wireless infrastructure deployment? Can the process be improved? Additionally, how will the FCC’s Rural Fund for 5G affect deployment?
- Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Spectrum Policies to Advance Better Broadband”
- More than simply the next generation of wireless technology, 5G deployments make use of radio frequencies from an extremely wide range. For example, some 5G deployment are using mid-band spectrum between 3.4 GigaHertz (GHz) and 6 GHz. But 5G networks also promise tap into spectrum between 24 GHz and 100 GHz. It deploys these millimeter bands using network slicing and other advanced wireless tools. What new spectrum policies are necessary for 5G to flourish?
CES 2022: 5G, Aviation Crisis a Problem of Federal Coordination, Observers Say
The hope is coordination problems will be relieved when the Senate confirms NTIA head.
LAS VEGAS, January 6, 2022 – The possible near collision of 5G signals and aircraft altimeters emerged out of a lack of coordination on the federal government’s part to bring all relevant information to the Federal Communications Commission before it auctioned off the spectrum that has now been put on hold for safety precautions, observers said Thursday.
This week, Verizon and AT&T agreed to delay the rollout of their 5G services using the C-band spectrum surrounding airports after the Federal Aviation Administration raised the alarm for months about possible interference of the wireless signals with aircraft, which use their own radios to safely land planes.
But the issue could’ve been resolved back in 2020, when the FCC proposed to repurpose a portion of the band to allow for wireless use, some said on a panel discussing 5G Thursday in Las Vegas.
“After the FCC had adopted the rules, auctioned off the spectrum, raised over $80 billion and deployment began and then additional information that apparently had not been brought to the FCC before comes over…that’s not good for the country,” said John Godfrey, senior vice president of public policy and acting head of U.S. public affairs at Samsung, a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.
“The time to have that information be disclosed and discussed and analyzed is when the FCC is conducting the rulemaking,” Godfrey said, adding the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration should, as federal telecom rep, be spearheading coordination efforts between the FAA and the FCC on telecommunications matters.
“I think it’s their job as the leaders of telecom policy in the administration to facilitate bringing the full federal government to the table in a timely manner,” Godfrey added.
Asad Ramzanali, legislative director for Democratic California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, said that the fallout of the aviation issue has shown that, “Looking backwards, I do think this is a failure. This is a failure in government to be able to coordinate at the right time…when there’s a process, those impacted should be participating — that is the role of the NTIA.”
NTIA head confirmation ‘should be a priority’
And the hope is that such coordination issues can be averted in the future with the confirmation of a permanent head of the NTIA, said Ramzanali. President Joe Biden nominated Alan Davidson in October to be the next permanent head of the agency, which has had temporary figures fill in the role since the resignation in May 2019 of the last full-time head, David Redl.
“That should be a priority,” Ramzanali said of pushing Davidson through. “The NTIA is doling out $42.5 billion of that $65 billion [from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act]. The NTIA is supposed to deal with those types of issues. They have brilliant people there, but this is the kind of leadership that they should be in the middle of.
“And this isn’t a recent NTIA thing,” Ramzanali added. “This has lasted many years, especially in the prior administration where the NTIA wasn’t doing this part of it — coordinating with other agencies.
“I’m hopeful with Alan Davidson presumably getting in soon that we won’t see that kind of issue.”
CES 2022: Educating Consumers About 5G Will Encourage Wider Adoption
Currently, consumers are not being provided the information they need to make the leap, a consultant said.
LAS VEGAS, January 6, 2021 – Educating consumers about 5G is necessary to achieving wider adoption in its upcoming deployment in the United States.
At Wednesday’s CES “Path to A Better 5G World” session, industry leaders discussed how 5G will change the digital landscape by offering new experiences for businesses and consumers.
Sally Lange Witkowski, founder of business consulting firm Slang Consulting, said that companies should educate consumers about the benefits of 5G.
“Some consumers don’t even know 5G exists,” she said. “They believe faster is better,” but said that consumers don’t know about 5G’s wider applications. “Consumers should want to have [5G] because of how innovators and entrepreneurs will use the technology.”
Slang’s research shows that consumers are only willing to pay up to $5 more per month for 5G service. “It’s not about the hype, it’s about the usability,” Witkowski added. She noted that people are living longer and older Americans are growing old without the necessary digital skills to thrive in our new ecosystem.
“A child born today has a one in two chance of living till 100,” she said. Educating consumers about 5G’s benefits can help the elderly prepare to participate in the revolution.
Witkowski also said closed hardware software ecosystems, sometimes referred to as “walled gardens,” prevent consumers from discovering new experiences.
“The really large organizations have a hard time innovating. Big corporations are built to scale. The ability to reach out to entrepreneurs to access creative thinking is important,” Witkowski added. “The pandemic changed a lot [for technology companies]. They are going to have to embrace something they don’t normally embrace,” like the fact that another company may be better positioned to create solutions.
FCC Commissioner Carr Details Steps Needed for 5G, Says Talk of 6G ‘Almost Too Early’
The commissioner also said he thinks Biden will support Big Tech contributions to the Universal Service Fund.
WASHINGTON, December 9, 2021 – Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr says that proper planning on increased spectrum release and infrastructure reform is necessary for the FCC to ensure a smooth rollout of 5G technology.
Carr specifically critiqued the current infrastructure reform approaches of President Joe Biden’s administration, saying that the administration’s current plan seems to be to make large sums of funding available without planning extensively for infrastructure modernization.
At Thursday’s Media Institute event during which Carr spoke, the commissioner also said he thinks it is “almost too early” to start thinking about 6G rollout that newly re-confirmed Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has said is on the table sooner rather than later. Carr emphasized that focusing on 6G too early could distract from planning necessary for 5G’s success.
Regardless, Carr expressed that the U.S. is in a good shape to effectively harness 5G and compete with China’s use of the technology, owing to an American 5G platform that he called the strongest in the world as well as to American innovation in the area.
In terms of what else is unresolved with regard to 5G, Carr says it is not yet clear what the flagship new application development will be with 5G. He believes this may become much clearer as very low power Wi-Fi technology begins to allow for creative uses of 5G.
Big Tech contribution to Universal Service Fund?
Also during Thursday’s event, Carr said that he believes the Biden administration will support requiring big tech corporations to contribute to the Universal Service Fund, citing lead Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee Sen. Ben Ray Luján’s support for the proposal. Carr as well as key Republicans have also demonstrated support for this proposal in the past, which would provide monetary support for a fund that provides basic telecommunications services to remote and low-income communities.
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