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FCC Picks Salt Lake City For 5G Network Testing

FILE: BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 05: Visitors have a look at the new Samsung A90 5G smartphone at the 2019 IFA home electronics and appliances trade fair on September 05, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The 2019 IFA fair will be open to the public from September 6-11. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Officials with the Federal Communications Commission announced Salt Lake City will be one of two areas for wireless communication research, which includes 5G network testing.

Wednesday’s announcement designated New York City and Salt Lake City as the FCC’s first two “Innovation Zones.”

Officials said the zones will be “city-wide test beds for advanced wireless communications and network research, including 5G networks.”

Tech experts said 5G or fifth-generation network capabilities could change the way our world operates with faster download speeds and greater connectivity.

“The FCC’s announcement arrives at a time of massive innovation in the wireless industry,” said Joe Kochan, principal investigator and project director for the Platforms for Advanced Wirless Research project office. “The availability of new spectrum bands and opportunities for spectrum sharing promise advances in wireless communications that will take us far beyond 5G, and the fact that the agency is making it easier for researchers to test these new technologies at scale through the use of Innovation Zones can only accelerate that process.”

Officials said the FCC’s designation allows existing research programs to experiment across a wider range of locations and frequencies. They said the goal is to accelerate the development and commercialization of these promising technologies.

In March, the Utah State Legislature passed S.B. 189, which cleared a path for communication operators to install upgraded wireless infrastructure in Utah cities.

The Innovation Zone in Utah will be jointly run by Salt Lake City, the University of Utah and Rice University.

Currently the Salt Lake City zone, known as “POWDER-RENEW,” covers 2.3 square miles of the University of Utah’s campus and 1.2 square miles of downtown Salt Lake City, with a two-mile corridor between the two areas.

“Few concepts are more central to America than experimentation and innovation. It’s what we do best,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “So it’s exciting and inspiring to see our Innovation Zones program taking off. These projects will test new advanced technologies and prototype networks like those that can support 5G technologies. We’re also establishing a process to ensure new innovators can have access to this testing resource while protecting current, licensed users. I thank all those who are leading these efforts on the ground and stand committed to continuing our efforts to empower innovators.”

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