The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said Monday they will vote next month on a proposal to help identify and free up wireless spectrum at very high frequencies that could be used to power fifth-generation, or 5G, cellular networks.

 FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who made the announcement, said this is important for the development of new applications, virtual reality, autonomous vehicle and the Internet of Things.

“Our 5G proposal is the final piece in the spectrum trifecta of low-band, mid-band, and high-band airwaves that will open up unprecedented amounts of spectrum, speed the rollout of next-generation wireless networks, and re-define network connectivity for years to come,” said Wheeler in prepared remarks.

Verizon and AT&T tell us they will begin deploying 5G trials on the network side in 2017, Wheeler said. This will help inform standards process by putting stakes in the ground, and the first commercial deployments at scale are expected in 2020, he added.

Why 5G?

Autonomous vehicles will be controlled in the cloud. Smart-city energy grids, transportation networks, and water systems will be controlled in the cloud. Immersive education and entertainment will come from the cloud, explained Wheeler

“To seize the opportunities before us, we need the next generation of wireless connectivity – a fifth generation, or 5G. And if the United States is going to continue to be a world leader in wireless, we need to speed the deployment of 5G, here, on our shores,” said wheeler.