Everyone’s Wi-Fi Will Now Improve In a Huge Way
To slow the spread of coronavirus, many companies have jumped on board of telecommuting services while thousands of schools have closed and resorted to remote classes. Now that everyone is home, there has been a strain on networks.
As it stands, internet usage is up 50% in some parts of the world as more aspects of our daily lives have moved online. Across the world, millions of people are now connected to the internet from our kitchens, living rooms and home offices every day. Consequently, it has caused some internet service providers (ISPs) to see demand skyrocket.
The majority of people logging on from home are the same people no longer doing so from the office. According to Cloudflare, a US company providing network infrastructure to businesses around the world, internet traffic increased by around 25% in many major cities between January and March.
Consumers are connecting more devices to their home broadband networks with demand skyrocketing for certain online services. Video calls have replaced face-to-face interaction with colleagues, family, and friends alike.
Stay-at-home entertainment is booming. For example, there has been record numbers of people using Steam – a popular online PC game store. There was a time more than 24.5 million players were logged on at the same time. Online grocery stores have also not been left out. There has been a significant surge in business, with tens of thousands of customers waiting for hours in virtual lines.
This has made policymakers to bolster the Wi-Fi networks. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve a plan to augment WiFi capacity.
The FCC’s 5G Fast Plan
Under Chairman Pai, the FCC is attempting to pass a comprehensive strategy that will Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology (the 5G FAST Plan). The Chairman’s strategy includes three key components:
- Pushing more spectrum into the marketplace
- Updating infrastructure policy
- Modernizing outdated regulations.
“Forward-thinking spectrum policy, modern infrastructure policy, and market-based network regulation form the heart of our strategy for realizing the promise of the 5G future.” – FCC Chairman Pai
The FCC is taking action to make additional spectrum available for 5G services. The measures include:
- High-band – The FCC has made auctioning high-band spectrum a priority. It has finished its first 5G spectrum auction this year in the 28 GHz band, and its auction of 24 GHz spectrum is currently taking place. Later this year, the FCC will auction the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. With these auctions, the FCC will release almost 5 gigahertz of 5G spectrum into the market — more than all other flexible use bands combined.
- Mid-band – Mid-band spectrum has become a target for 5G build-out given its balanced coverage and capacity characteristics. With our work on the 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz, and 3.7-4.2 GHz bands, we could make more than 600 megahertz available for 5G deployments.
- Low-band – The FCC is striving to improve the use of low-band spectrum (useful for wider coverage) for 5G services, with targeted changes to the 600 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands.
- Unlicensed – Recognizing that unlicensed spectrum will be vital for 5G, the agency is creating new opportunities for the next generation of Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz and above 95 GHz band.
Courtesy of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), the FCC is updating their infrastructure policy and encouraging the private sector to invest in 5G networks. The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, formed by Chairman Pai in 2017, provides advice and recommendations for the Commission on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access
The policy includes:
- Speeding up Federal Review of Infrastructure – The FCC adopted new rules that will reduce federal regulatory barriers in setting up the infrastructure needed for 5G and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service.
- Speeding up State and Local Review of Small Cells – The FCC reconstituted rules made decades ago to integrate small cells. The reforms ban short-sighted municipal roadblocks that result in blocking deployment of 5G and give states and localities a reasonable deadline to approve or disapprove small-cell siting applications.
Modernizing Outdated Regulations
The FCC is modernizing outdated regulations to promote the wired backbone of 5G networks and digital opportunity for all Americans. It will do this by:
- Restoring Internet Freedom – To lead the world in 5G, the United States has to encourage investment and innovation while protecting Internet openness and freedom. The FCC adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which sets a consistent national policy for Internet providers.
- One-Touch Make-Ready – The FCC has updated their rules governing the attachment of new network equipment to utility poles in order to reduce cost and speed up the process for 5G backhaul deployment.
- Speeding the IP Transition – The FCC has revised its rules to make it easier for companies to invest in next-generation networks and services instead of the fading networks of the past.
- Business Data Services – In order to incentivize investment in modern fibre networks, the FCC updated rules for high-speed, dedicated services by lifting rate regulation where appropriate.
- Supply Chain Integrity – The FCC has proposed to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose a national security threat to the integrity of American communications networks or the communications supply chain.