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January 10, 2013

FCC plans to free up additional Wi-Fi spectrum

US regulator says the measures will increase the amount of 5GHz availability by 35%.

By CBR Staff Writer

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a plan to free up additional Wi-Fi spectrum to help relieve congestion and increase speeds.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that the FCC will take the initial steps next month to free up to 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 gigahertz (GHz) band.

"As this spectrum comes on line, we expect it to relieve congested Wi-Fi networks at major hubs like convention centres and airports. It will also help in homes as tablets and smartphones proliferate and video use rises," Genachowski said.

The FCC claims that the measures will increase the amount of 5GHz availability by 35%, which would be the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available for expansion of Wi-Fi since 2003.

The US Department of Defense and other agencies are currently using the spectrum in the 5GHz band, which is to be freed up. The Commission said in order for this effort to be successful, it will need major collaboration with other federal agencies.

Genachowski said "We’ll keep nurturing today’s Wi-Fi as we also develop a next generation of spectrum policies to drive our mobile future for our innovators and our economy."

Last year, the US FCC approved a plan that allows Dish Network to deploy its satellite airwaves to create a new cellular network for land-based mobile broadband, including 4G LTE, supporting the aim of setting free 500MHz of spectrum for broadband by 2020.

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