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Utilities Sue FCC Over 6 GHz Order

(Image credit: FCC)

The Utilities Technology Council has joined broadcasters in suing the FCC over its decision to allow unlicensed use in the entire 6 GHz band. 

"The Federal Communications Commission acted unlawfully and against the public interest when it permitted a host of new users into a vital spectrum band that will likely cause communications challenges for public safety and critical-infrastructure industries," the council told the court in its petition. 

Electric utilities--and broadcast news gatherers--use the band and are concerned about interference from unlicensed broadband access devices. 

The council wants the court to: 

(1) "Hold that the FCC’s rules in the Report and Order unlawfully authorize unlicensed low power indoor operations without sufficient safeguards to prevent harmful interference to licensed operations; 

(2) "Hold that the FCC was arbitrary and capricious in failing to adequately consider studies on the record that show that unlicensed operations will cause harmful interference to licensed systems; 

(3) "Vacate those portions of the Report and Order the Court finds to be arbitrary and capricious or otherwise unlawful or defective; 

(4) "Remand to the FCC for proceedings consistent with the Court’s findings..." 

The FCC voted unanimously April 23 to allow the entire 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band to be shared with unlicensed WiFi, the FCC's latest move in freeing up more spectrum for connecting 5G in-home devices--video streaming, video calls--and connecting IoT devices to the internet. 

Last week, the National Association of Broadcasters filed its suit, saying the potential interference could affect life-saving local news and information during the pandemic.

Both appeals are to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court of principal jurisdiction over FCC decisions.