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FCC votes to free up spectrum for faster WiFi

Industry groups praise the decision
Tue Apr 01 2014, 15:48

THE US FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) voted unanimously on Monday to free up 100MHz of wireless spectrum for WiFi, paving the way for WiFi speeds of 1Gbps and faster.

In a vote of 5-0, the FCC on Monday voted to open an additional 100MHz for WiFi devices in the 5GHz band, an increase of 15 percent. It also agreed to remove indoor-only restrictions on WiFi devices and increase the amount of power they can use in the 5.15GHz to 5.25GHz band.

As well as helping users get faster WiFi speeds, the decision will also ease WiFi congestion in crowded areas and will give innovators more spectrum to experiment with.

The FCC said in a statement, "The Federal Communications Commission today provided for accelerated growth and expansion of new WiFi technology that can offer faster speeds of one gigabit per second or more, increase overall capacity, and reduce congestion at WiFi hot spots.

"The new rules will make 100MHz of spectrum more accessible for use in homes and congested spaces like convention centers, parks, and airports and increase the potential for more unlicensed spectrum innovation."

The FCC also voted to make another 65MHz of spectrum available for flexible use wireless services, including mobile broadband.

Several industry groups including the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) praised the FCC's decision. TIA president Grant Seiffert said, "This is a watershed moment for American consumers who are tethered to their smartphones and tablets.

"The AWS-3 decision makes new spectrum available to address mobile consumer demand, and with the 5GHz decision the FCC is optimising critical swaths of unlicensed spectrum to enable next generation Wi-Fi."

Unlicensed spectrum advocacy group WiFiforward added, "WiFi is about to get bigger, better, and faster.

"We commend the Commission for crafting a thoughtful balance between the needs of incumbents and innovators to make sharing possible. The FCC's action will create a new environment for experimentation, new business models, and better WiFi." µ


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