ALL EYES ON 5G

Both the federal government and private sector are laying the groundwork for 5G wireless networks, a highly-touted upgrade to mobile internet service that industry leaders say will bring about promising new technologies.

The goal of 5G, shorthand for fifth-generation, is to bring about networks that deliver wireless internet at much faster speeds and with increased capacity.

The upgrades have the potential to allow mobile users to download massive high-definition video files in seconds and to experience virtual reality on the go. Wireless providers are also promising that the new technology will bring advanced medical capabilities to rural areas through faster connections and allow driverless cars to communicate with each other.

“It will create trillions of dollars in new economic output, as well as initiating an era of innovation that we can’t even imagine right now,” Robert McDowell, a former Republican commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told The Hill.

“The endgame is to get wireless networks to do what fiber networks can do,” Harold Feld, a senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge, said in a phone interview.

The move from 3G to 4G brought faster broadband internet to cell phones, enabling an entire economy to spring out of mobile apps that led to businesses like Uber, AirBnB, and others. And many are expecting a similar revolution in the next generation.

 

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