As the nation’s leading organization advocating for LGBTQ interests in the technology sector, the LGBT Technology Partnership believes strongly in promoting regulations that will help close the technology gap for all members of the LGBTQ community.
We’ve described before why development and deployment of next generation (5G) wireless networks are so significant, what kind of technologies and regulations are needed to make 5G a reality, and why 5G is especially and specifically Important to improving the lives of LGBTQ people.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on an important measure to enable 5G, in this case to streamline the deployment of one of the array of promising methods being used to get the new networks online: “small cells.” But small cells are only one part of the complex 5G picture. Other technologies like “massive MIMO,” “full duplex,” “beamforming,” and “millimeter wave” can and should work in concert to bring better-functioning, more-capable, and speedier wireless Internet to everyone, including LGBTQ people trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide. We applaud the Commission for their work on small cells and encourage them to keep the positive momentum going on all aspects of 5G deployment, including via license auctions for 5G or “millimeter wave” spectrum.
The FCC should move forward with these auctions as soon as possible—but there is work to be done before they can do so. Today, the licenses in question present some difficulties: they are disorganized along the band, and disorganized geographically across the nation; they in some cases overlap; and most are set up in less-than-ideal 50 MHz blocks. The FCC must sift through current licenses and reorganize portions of the spectrum to better fit the 5G technology environment, as well as set a 200 MHz block standard, which would be a much better fit for 5G (and therefore 5G deployment) than the current 50 MHz spectrum blocks. This approach will drive faster and more efficient deployment of 5G networks, which is critical to the United States maintaining its leading position in the wireless sector and delivering the kinds and levels of service consumers want and need, including and especially those in the LGBTQ community.