At the September meeting, the FCC will vote on the Wireless Infrastructure Order that would reduce state and local barriers to small cell deployment by limiting pole attachment fees and streamlining administrative processes. Adoption of this Order undoubtedly would advance the implementation of 5G wireless technology throughout the United States.
But interestingly, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is already looking towards 6G. In a speech at the Mobile World Congress Americas on September 13, Commissioner Rosenworcel said that the FCC should revisit spectrum policy of the future, particularly with relation to valuation, auction, and distribution.
With regard to spectrum distribution, Commissioner Rosenworcel said the FCC should consider using blockchain as a way to enable smarter and more decentralized dynamic spectrum access techniques:
Blockchains are distributed databases that can be securely updated without central intermediaries. That makes them ideal for a bunch of uses—and everyone has a blockchain idea right now. So here’s mine: Instead of having a centralized database to support shared access in specific spectrum bands, we could explore the use of blockchain as a lower-cost alternative. If the effort succeeds, this could reduce the administrative expense of dynamic access systems and increase spectral efficiency. We also could foster new hierarchies of band-specific rights and new models for lightweight leasing. Plus, the public quality of recording this information using distributed ledger technology could help expose patterns that inspire new technical innovation and even change the way we use wireless.
The FCC still must continue to reduce regulatory barriers to small cell deployment and promote the advancement of 5G wireless technology throughout the U.S. But it is also important that FCC Commissioners are looking towards the future to ensure that the wireless market will experience a smooth transition from 5G to 6G.
Kudos to Commissioner Rosenworcel for her forward-looking ideas!