Watchdog Praises FCC for Voting to Open 6 GHz Band for Unlicensed Use

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

April 23, 2020

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2020
Contact: Grace Morgan
(202-855-4380)

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for unanimously voting to allow unlicensed devices to operate in the 6 GHz spectrum band. According to the FCC, the new rule will, “make 1,200 megahertz of spectrum available for unlicensed use in the 5.925-7.125 GHz (6 GHz) band while ensuring that incumbent licensed services are able to thrive throughout the band.” Under the new framework, unlicensed use of the 1,200 megahertz of spectrum will be permitted for indoor applications at restricted power levels. The FCC will use an automated frequency coordination (AFC) system for indoor and outdoor unlicensed uses of the 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.525-6.875 GHz sub-bands.

TPA President David Williams praised the FCC, noting, “as hundreds of millions of Americans have struggled to cope with the Coronavirus crisis, workers across the country are relying on WiFi home networks more than ever. But there is currently not enough wireless spectrum to keep Americans connected to a secure, reliable internet. The FCC’s order paves the way for a better, faster digital domain that can meet the needs of households and businesses struggling to adapt in these uncertain times and the future. The FCC’s farsighted policy paves the way for a new generation of WiFi networks with wider channels than ever before. The 6 GHz band is more than twice as wide as the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels currently used for WiFi, ensuring reliable internet speeds supporting activities from teleworking to, yes, even streaming cat videos. These changes will expand opportunities for millions of Americans and help close the digital divide.”

Williams continued: “Fortunately, the FCC recognizes that unlicensed spectrum isn’t feasible without strong protections for incumbent users. The agency has succeeded in crafting stringent technical guidelines that allow licensed users continued, uninterrupted access to their bandwidth. For example, requiring low power levels for indoor use creates a strong guardrail and prevents unwanted interference with applications relying on licensed spectrum. The FCC’s sound rulemaking on power levels, coupled with a robust AFC system, allows for unlicensed and licensed spectrum users to co-exist without getting in the way of each other.”

Williams concluded: “The FCC is working diligently during this crisis to ensure that all Americans have access to fast, reliable internet. Today’s vote further bridges the digital divide, while allowing Americans access to better WiFi connections that can handle an astounding array of applications. The vote today will drive the economy forward, resulting in $60 billion in increased economic activity according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Freeing up this critical spectrum will bolster the digital domain, close the digital divide, and drive prosperity for workers, families, and businesses.”

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