FCC Votes to Free up More Wi-Fi Spectrum

The FCC voted 5-0 on what at least three out of the five commissioners called a "paradigm shift" in spectrum policy.

That was on a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to free up 150 MHz of spectrum for Wi-Fi and other uses. Cable operators are looking for all the new Wi-Fi spectrum they can get, since that is their major broadband mobility play.

Now, according to the new three-tiered system plan, spectrum will be available for commercial and noncommercial unlicensed use subject to "exclusion zones" to protect incumbent Department of Defense and satellite users. Heretofore that spectrum had been foreclosed because some of it was used by federal agencies— notably DOD radar systems.

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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.