5G's faster speeds open up the possibility of running more sophisticated applications over networks. Wheeler specifically called out virtual reality, but other possibilities include self-driving cars and connected devices exchanging more real time data. Among the benefits of 5G are improved responsiveness, from about one-hundredth of a second to less than one-thousandth of a second. That reduction in latency could lead to benefits like cutting the lag out of cellular video-chats.
For those who are sick and tired of their limited home internet options, 5G could also provide a boost. Wheeler pointed out that Verizon has talked up 5G connectivity as a way to bring high-speed broadband to rural areas, and while consumers promised ubiquitous FiOS may be suspicious of that claim, Wheeler said that "Fiber-fast wireless connectivity will deliver that long-sought goal of competitive high-speed Internet access for consumers."
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The FCC doesn't plan to define the details and limitations of 5G, Wheeler said. "Turning innovators loose is far preferable to expecting committees and regulators to define the future," he added. That's the same formula the U.S used to roll out 4G networking, Wheeler says, as it looks to "lead the world in spectrum availability, encourage and protect innovation-driving competition, and stay out of the way of technological development."
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