Have you heard? 5G is going to solve all our problems. Ubiquitous, wireless broadband will be the backbone that powers next-generation, autonomous everything and it’s so close you can practically reach out and grab it. Psyche, too slow.
That’s the line from telcos pitching huge incentives (read: investments) from the federal government from regulatory and fee rollbacks to a gigantic tax cut that will fill their coffers for years to come. And don’t forget Net Neutrality. That’s gone, and so are the days of equitable access for everyone that powered the fertile innovation launchpad rise a democratic internet spurred.
But it’s all cool, the carriers say, because 5G is the only thing that matters and with just a little more time and a lot more money, it could be a reality in the U.S.
But Ernesto Falcon from EFF writes that’s all hype and none of the wild promises made, including rural broadband buildout and wireless service we can rely on for society’s most basic functions like getting around safely, are overstated.
“Things like interference from other signals, physical obstructions (they are dependent on line of sight), multi-year government spectrum allocations, and the shortening range of towers for ultra high speeds (estimated around 1000 feet per tower) all serve as limitations on wireless potential,” Falcon writes.
His insights are deep and interesting and cast a whole new light on the future of 5G and whether consumers will ever get what’s being promised.
Featured image: Pixabay