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Regulators Pave Way for Speedy Next-Generation 5G Networks

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said 5G will help more Americans access high-speed internet

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    AFP/Getty Images
    Mobile phones with 5G are displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 22, 2016.

    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to open nearly 11 gigahertz of high-frequency spectrum for the roll out of “5G” mobile, flexible and fixed-use broadband wireless applications and networks.

    The move by U.S. regulators makes the United States the first country to set aside an ample amount of airwaves for lightening-fast fifth generation wireless technology.

    New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks, the FCC said.

    Companies including Verizon and AT&T already were moving closer to adopting 5G.

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    There is a worldwide race to adopt 5G. South Korea and Japan plan to deploy it by the time they host the Olympics, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The European Commission, South Korea, China and Japan are all working on 5G research efforts.