US: FCC proposes making 1.2 GHz in the 6 GHz band available for unlicenced use
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
FCC chairman Ajit Pai

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission, has proposed to make up to 1,200 MHz of spectrum available for use by unlicenced devices in the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz).

The FCC’s proposed rules in this regard are designed to allow unlicenced devices to operate in this band without interfering with licenced services. In those portions of the band (5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.525-6.875 GHz) that are heavily used by point-to-point microwave links, the FCC proposes the use of an automated frequency coordination system to allow unlicenced devices to operate. In the other portions of the band (6.425-6.525 GHz and 6.875-7.125 GHz) where licensed mobile services, such as the Broadcast Auxiliary Service and Cable Television Relay Service, operate, the unlicensed devices would be restricted to indoor operations at lower power.

In a statement, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said: “And in the last three decades, unlicensed devices have proliferated (as have Batman movies). From Wi-Fi routers to connected home appliances to retro cordless phones for those of us who still have landlines, we use devices that connect via unlicensed spectrum every day. Indeed, they’ve become so popular that there is now a shortage of airwaves dedicated for their use. So today, we address this problem by proposing to open up 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band for different types of unlicensed uses. And we seek to do so in a way that will protect incumbent licensed operations in the band.”

“….It is also part of our aggressive and balanced spectrum strategy: pushing more licensed and unlicensed spectrum into the commercial marketplace and including a mix of low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrum. And with the massive amount of wireless traffic that is off-loaded to Wi-Fi, opening up this wide swath of spectrum for unlicensed use could be a big boost to our nation’s 5G future.”

“We look forward to compiling a robust record and then acting quickly to make more 6 GHz spectrum available for unlicensed uses. Indeed, I’m optimistic that we should be able to get the job done before the next Batman movie is released.”

In related news, earlier this month, a report commissioned by the Wi-Fi Alliance estimates Wi-Fi’s current annual global economic value at $1.96 trillion and projects that it will exceed $3.47 trillion by 2023. In the UK, the report estimates that Wi-Fi contributes $54 billion (£42 billion) in economic value and predicts that this will rise to $71 billion (£55 billion) by 2023.

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