FCC Opens Proceeding to Explore Release of Additional Spectrum in 5 GHz Band for Use in “Gigabit” Wi-Fi Networks

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Contact

On Feb. 20, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and initiated a proceeding to release 195 megahertz of additional spectrum for potential use by unlicensed devices in the 5 GHz band. The Commission’s proposal is one part of a federal policy initiative to promote the deployment of wireless broadband facilities and services. At the same time, it also moves to the forefront issues regarding the viability of spectrum sharing techniques intended to unleash spectrum currently reserved for federal users as well as potential conflicts with uses that have been in development for related spectrum. Ultimately, the NPRM is one of several initiatives, such as the TV “White Spaces” proceeding, that reflect the federal government’s recognition of the increasingly important role of Wi-Fi networks in accelerating the deployment and ubiquity of higher-speed and higher-capacity broadband services.

Spectrum Targeted for Potential Deployment of Gigabit Wi-Fi Networks
Acting, in part, to relieve concerns over growing congestion of Wi-Fi networks operating in the 2.4 GHz band, the NPRM proposes to release spectrum suitable for ultra-high-speed, high-capacity Wi-Fi, known as “Gigabit” Wi-Fi, operating under the new IEEE 802.11ac standard. The Commission’s action also stems from a Congressional mandate in the 2012 Spectrum Act to consider allowing for greater use of unlicensed devices in the 5 GHz band. Once completed, this proceeding could release the largest block of spectrum dedicated to Wi-Fi in over ten years, representing a 35% increase in existing capacity.

The NPRM proposes to permit the use of “Unlicensed-National Information Infrastructure” devices (known as U-NII devices), which currently use 555 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 GHz Band, to operate in an additional 195 megahertz of spectrum in that Band. In addition, the item proposes to streamline its rules and equipment authorization rules for all such devices which use portions of the 5 GHz band.

FCC Chairman Genachowski predicted that this additional spectrum will enhance capacity on existing Wi-Fi networks and facilitate higher data speeds necessary to support enhanced services, such as improved HD video distribution. Many believe this effort will boost the utility and capabilities of cable and telecom Wi-Fi networks, and increase demand for unlicensed wireless devices and equipment.

Successful Development of Spectrum Sharing Techniques Key to Utilization of Spectrum
The NPRM is only a first step, and release of this spectrum will not occur anytime soon. The agency’s proposed action is complicated by the fact that much of the 5 GHz band is already used for various purposes by federal and non-federal users. Therefore, successful release of this spectrum will require extensive consultation with incumbent users and the development of a framework that allows multiple users to share the spectrum without interfering with existing users.

To that end, the NTIA released a report on Jan. 25, 2013, identifying various federal users of this spectrum, including federal government radar systems, unmanned aircraft systems, and command links for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Although the NTIA identified a number of risks to federal government systems if unlicensed devices are permitted to share this spectrum, it pledged to study potential mitigation techniques to address such risks. In addition, non-federal users also use this spectrum for operations in the intelligent transportation system radio service, for example, for use in so-called “smart car” technologies that have been in development for several years. For these reasons, the FCC must work with the NTIA to ensure that incumbent government licensee operations will be protected by technical solutions, including spectrum sharing technologies. In the NPRM, the FCC seeks comments on the NTIA 5GHz Report, and particularly the spectrum sharing technologies and risks current users identified in the NTIA Report.

The outcome of those discussions is likely to play a significant role in determining whether, or more likely how, this additional spectrum will, in fact, be released for use in the deployment of Gigabit Wi-Fi networks.

The FCC requests comments on such spectrum sharing solutions, as well as its proposals to unify rules for these devices. Comments are due forty-five days after publication in the Federal Register. If you have questions about this proceeding please contact us at your convenience.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Contact
more
less

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!