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Rep. McNerney Urges FCC to Free Up All 6 GHz

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) told the FCC to stay the course on chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to open all the 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band to unlicensed WiFi.

Silicon Valley is solidly behind the proposal, as is McNerney, who wrote Pai earlier this year calling for all the spectrum.

Broadcasters who use part of it for electronic news gathering (ENG) are not assuaged by Pai's assurances their spectrum can be shared without potential harmful interference and have asked the FCC to reserve 80 MHz of that 1200 MHz of spectrum for that purpose, saying that the pandemic has put an exclamation point on the importance of local news and information, which is the nation's go-to source, and which allowing unlicensed on the entire band could threaten.

Related: NAB Slams Computer Companies over 6 GHz Stance

McNerney sees it differently, also citing COVID-19.

“This pandemic has made what was already a pressing need for additional unlicensed spectrum even more urgent," he said Wednesday (April 22) in a statement. "As we adjust to what is likely going to be the new normal—one in which our world moves increasingly online and we rely on WiFi for teleworking, distance learning, telehealth, and participating in everyday life, it is even more important now that additional spectrum be allocated for unlicensed use. I am pleased to see that consistent with what I have called for in the past, chairman Pai is moving forward with making all 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use while also taking steps to protect incumbent users operating in the band from harmful interference. This spectrum will be critical for unlocking innovation, creating new opportunities for American consumers and businesses, and narrowing the digital divide.”

Cable broadband operator are also cheering the freeing up of more unlicensed WiFi for the hotpots that are their primary mobile broadband play.