President Trump Signs Order to Set U.S. Spectrum Strategy for 5G Networks
【Summary】On Thursday, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Commerce Department to develop a long-term comprehensive national spectrum strategy to prepare for the introduction of next-generation 5G wireless networks. 5G network speeds are a key requirement for the commercial roll-out of autonomous driving and connected car technology.
Much of the development and successful roll-out of autonomous driving technology hinges on the availability of ultra-fast 5G networks to connect vehicles to the cloud, other vehicles and infrastructure. Developers and companies working on self-driving systems, deep-learning and connected mobility are counting on the availability of reliable 5G network speeds, which are needed to transfer crucial vehicle data in real-time.
The U.S. is beginning to take action with a signing of a memorandum this week.
On Thursday, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Commerce Department to develop a long-term comprehensive national spectrum strategy to prepare for the introduction of next-generation 5G wireless networks.
5G network speeds are a key requirement for the commercial rollout of autonomous driving and connected car technology, allowing cars to communicate with the cloud, other nearby vehicles, traffic signals, or other infrastructure. 5G networks offer much greater data transfer speeds and reduced latency than current 4G networks, which is vital for on-board safety systems that need to calculate split second driving decisions.
The memorandum requires a series of reports over the next nine months. The goal of the study is to ensure there is enough spectrum (or bandwidth) to handle the growing amount of internet and wireless traffic and that future 5G networks have adequate spectrum to operate.
U.S. telecommunications companies AT&T Inc, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile U.S. are working to acquire spectrum and preparing to develop and test faster 5G networks, which are expected to be at least 100 times faster than current 4G networks. 5G networks reduce latency, or delays, to less than one-thousandth of a second, the Federal Communications Commission has said.
Automaker Audi is testing an in-vehicle feature that connects its vehicle to traffic signals using a 4G network
As reported by Reuters, wireless industry trade group CTIA praised the Trump administration for "recognizing the importance of establishing a national spectrum strategy. With the right approach based on licensed wireless spectrum, America's wireless carriers will invest hundreds of billions of dollars and create millions of jobs."
"We will prioritize efforts to accelerate the private sector's development of 5G, so that the American people can reap the rewards of this incredible technology," White House adviser Michael Kratsios told reporters on Thursday.
White House officials said they do not support any effort to nationalize the 5G network, which China has done.
China's government prioritized 5G testing years ago with the goal of becoming the world's leader in 5G adoption. According to Reuters, a leaked document uncovered in January suggested the Trump administration was considering the idea.
The Trump administration's lack of a national commitment to 5G technology has caused a rift with the FCC, as other nations including China and south Korea are maker greater progress in rolling out 5G networks.
Democratic Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Jessica Rosenworcel questioned the length of the time for the reports.
"Other nations are moving ahead, while we're headed to study hall and in the interim we're slapping big tariffs on 5G networks. This doesn't speed our 5G leadership - it slows us down." she said.
Rosenworcel was referring to the move last month when the U.S. Trade Representative finalized new tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. Included in the 200-page schedule of goods subject to tariffs are vague listings that include "machines for the reception, conversion, and transmission or regeneration of voice, images, or other data, including switching and routing apparatus."
In addition, the schedule of goods includes "apparatus for transmission or reception of voice, images, or other data, including apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network."
All of these devices might be important components for building out 5G networks. Critics argue that the tariffs will make it more expensive for American companies to buy the hardware they need to develop their 5G infrastructure.
One big issue is a band of spectrum reserved for automakers to enable vehicles to communicate with to one another that has gone largely unused. Cable companies and others want the FCC to award part or all of that to expand Wi-Fi.
Connected cars could arrive on roads as early as 2021. However, the rollout will be dependent on collaboration amongst the many stakeholders involved, including global automakers, Tier 1 suppliers, chip manufacturers and local governments.
Fully autonomous vehicles will require real-time data transmission before rolling out at scale. Current cellular networks such as LTE have a latency of 30 to 40 milliseconds, which is unsafe for fully-autonomous vehicles.
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