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5G is coming: Here's what you need to know

5G is coming: Here's what you need to know
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

The next generation of super-fast Internet will start rolling out this summer. While that's great for you to access the Web from any device at lightning speed, there's one downside.

Your favorite TV channel could soon go dark. That's because the federal government is buying up some of the signals that TV stations use to broadcast news and other TV shows into your home.

It's part of a years-in-the-works, multi-billion-dollar auction where the Federal Communications Commission is encouraging TV stations to unload signals that could be better used for faster Wi-Fi speeds. 5G, or fifth-generation wireless Internet connections will download as fast as you do with wired in-home Internet connections. In other words, Wi-Fi will be really fast.

On Friday, the FCC said they'd reached their spectrum target of 126 megahertz, with TV stations promising to sell at least that much. The FCC's spectrum auction, where wireless carriers can buy TV stations' spectrum, starts at the end of this month.

The auction is for low-band spectrum. The FCC says that has the ability to penetrate buildings better than high-band spectrum.

What does this mean for you? It means you'll soon be able to access the Internet from your smartphones, tablets, connected cars and more at speeds that rival your home's top speed.

In addition to faster Wi-Fi download speeds, the FCC is hoping that the rollout of 5G will spark new competition. Right now, the vast majority of wireless customers use just four companies: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Hopefully, if more companies start offering 5G, the price you pay for Wi-Fi will come down.

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