Sens. Rubio, Booker Reintroduce WiFi Bill

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have reintroduced the WiFi Innovation Act, a bill they first introduced last June as one of a series of bills meant to boost wireless broadband.

The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to test the feasibility of opening up the upper portion of the 5-GHz spectrum band for unlicensed use – like cable WiFi hot spots.

The bill directs the FCC to "move swiftly" in seeking comment and testing the feasibility of opening the 5850-5925 band for unlicensed; explicitly acknowledges the need to balance that with intelligent transportation systems that operate/will operate in that band; also "establishes a study to examine Wi-Fi deployment in low-income communities and the barriers preventing deployment of wireless networks in low-income neighborhoods" and asks the FCC to look at ways to boost unlicensed availability in those neighborhoods.

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John Eggerton

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.