The Federal Communications Commission today took the first steps to unleash additional spectrum to accelerate the growth and expansion of new Wi-Fi technology that can offer faster speeds of one gigabit per second or more, increase overall capacity, and reduce congestion at Wi-Fi hot spots.
The Commission proposed to make up to 195 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band (a 35% increase) available to unlicensed wireless devices. It also proposed to create a more flexible
regulatory environment, and to streamline existing rules and equipment authorization procedures for
devices throughout this band.
Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices today operate in 555 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band, and are used for short range, high speed wireless connections including Wi-Fi enabled local area networks and fixed outdoor broadband transceivers used by wireless Internet service
providers to connect smart phones, tablets and laptops to the broadband network.
The proposed modifications would provide access to additional contiguous spectrum with consistent technical requirements, allowing unlicensed devices to use wider bandwidth channels, leading to faster speeds.
Because the 5GHz band is already used for other purposes by both federal and non-federal users, the FCC's effort will require significant consultation with stakeholders to enable non-interfering shared use of the spectrum.
Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association, welcomed the action, saying it would "expedite ultra high-speed, high-capacity Wi-Fi in support of the US innovation economy."