US Military Offers Airwaves for 5G Commercial Use
The U.S. government has given the military permission to offer a big part of its airwaves to private companies to expand the country's 5G wireless network system. Technology experts see the decision as an effort to keep up with other countries - notably China - in the race to deploy nationwide 5G.
5G is the next generation of high-speed wireless technology for the world. Experts say the system is expected to bring much higher internet speeds and reduce latency, or delays, in wireless processing operations.
Currently, 5G service remains limited in the United States. And most wireless devices now in use do not work with 5G. U.S. sales of 5G smartphones made up less than 1 percent of all devices in 2019, a report by market research company NPD estimated.
However, major U.S. wireless carriers are working to deploy the technology to as much of America as possible.
A June report by the Congressional Research Service noted that the U.S. had less available airwave capacity for 5G development as other countries. It said this is because the U.S. military controls so many of the usable frequencies necessary for 5G technology.
Mobile phones get signals from nearby radio transmitters that permit the devices to connect to frequencies to make calls and send data.
The 5G system will use three different forms, or bands, of what is called the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum is divided into high-band, mid-band and low-band.
Much of the 5G investment in the U.S. has centered on the high-band frequency – the one offering the fastest data speeds. But tests have shown that these high-band waves do not travel far and are blocked by physical barriers. This makes the high-band a poor choice for areas outside of big American cities.
China, by comparison, has been investing heavily in 5G networks using the less-costly middle and lower bands.
The Trump administration decision, announced Monday, permits frequencies on the military's mid-band spectrum to be shared with telecommunication businesses.
The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, will be able to auction 100 megahertz of this spectrum to major companies like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, beginning in December 2021. The spectrum could be available for use as soon as mid-2022.
U.S. officials say the mid-band is good for 5G because the waves can travel long distances at fast speeds, possibly connecting more U.S. areas to 5G networks.
The mid-band spectrum currently supports important military operations such as air defense, missile and gunfire control, battlefield weapon locations and air traffic control, said Dana Deasy, chief information officer for the Department of Defense.
Deasy noted concerns about sharing the military spectrum with private companies. But, he said the Department of Defense was creating a spectrum changeover plan that would limit any effects on military operations.
Michael Kratsios is the Trump administration's chief technology officer. He told reporters the mid-band was identified "because it can be made available without sacrificing our nation's great military and national security capabilities."
Michael O'Rielly, an FCC commissioner, sent President Donald Trump a letter in April urging him to help persuade the military to free some of its frequencies.
O'Rielly wrote in the letter that the U.S. needed to act fast, "especially when competitors such as China can move" quickly to redirect frequencies using "all the resources and power" of its centralized, Communist system.
The president of wireless industry group CTIA, Meredith Attwell Baker, welcomed the announcement in a statement. Opening up the mid-band spectrum for private operations "will enhance U.S. competitiveness" in the build out of 5G technology, Baker said.
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5.Technology experts see the decision as an effort to keep up with other countries - notably China - in the race to deploy nationwide 5G.
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6.Technology experts see the decision as an effort to keep up with other countries - notably China - in the race to deploy nationwide 5G.
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美国政府已授权军方将其很大部分的波段提供给私营企业，以扩展该国的5G无线网络系统 。技术专家认为，这一决定是为了追赶其它国家（尤其是中国）在全国范围内部署5G的竞赛 。
5G是面向全球的下一代高速无线技术 。专家表示，该系统有望带来更高的网速，并降低无线处理操作中的延迟 。
目前，美国的5G服务仍然有限 。而且，现在使用的大多数无线设备都不适用于5G 。市场调研公司NPD的一份报告估计，2019年美国5G智能手机的销量占所有设备的比例不到1% 。
美国国会研究服务局6月份的一份报告指出，与其它国家相比，美国用于发展5G的可用波段容量更少 。该机构指出，这是因为美国军方控制了5G技术所需的许多可用频率 。
5G系统将使用3种不同的电波频段 。该频段分为高频段、中频段和低频段 。
美国大部分5G投资都集中在高频段频率上，这一频段可以提供最快的数据传输速度 。但是测试表明，高频波传播的距离有限，且会受到物理屏障的阻碍 。导致高频段成为美国大城市以外地区的一个糟糕选择 。
从2021年12月开始，美国联邦通信委员会将获准向Verizon、 T-Mobile 和 AT&T 等主要公司拍卖100兆赫兹频段 。该频段最快可以在2022年中期投入使用 。
美国国防部首席信息官达纳·迪西（Dana Deasy）表示，中频段目前承担着重要的军事操作，例如防空、导弹和火炮射击控制，战场武器位置和空中交通管制 。
迪西提到了与私营企业共享军事频段的担忧 。但是他表示，国防部正在制定频段转换计划，以限制其对军事行动的影响 。
迈克尔·克拉特西奥斯（Michael Kratsios）是特朗普政府的首席技术官 。他对记者表示，之所以决定开放中频段，前提是它能够避免牺牲美国国强大军事和国防安全能力 。
美国联邦通信委员会专员迈克尔·奥里利（Michael O'Rielly）在4月份致信特朗普，督促他帮助说服军方释放部分频率 。
无线行业组织CTIA总裁梅雷迪斯·阿特维尔·贝克尔（Meredith Attwell Baker）在一份声明中对政府这一决定表示欢迎 。贝克尔表示，对私营企业开放中频段频谱将增强美国在构建5G技术方面的竞争力 。