FCC Commissioner: Higher Power in Lower 5 GHz

Posted by Sam Churchill on

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC should use more of the 5 GHz band for unlicensed wireless use, and explore ways to make use of guard bands that will be produced in the 600 MHz spectrum auction for unlicensed purposes, reports Fierce Wireless.

In a speech at the National Press Club for the WiFiForward coalition, Rosenworcel, one of three Democrats on the five-member FCC, extolled the virtues of unlicensed wireless.

Amy Schatz from Re/Code moderated a panel while telecom consultant Raul Katz spoke on the value of unlicensed spectrum.

Rosenworcel said that recent economic studies that add up the broader impact of unlicensed spectrum on the economy estimate its annual value at more than $140 billion. “By any measure, that number is really, really big,” she said.

“We can take the flexible Wi-Fi rules that have already been the script for an unlicensed success story in the 5.725-5.825 GHz band [which can use 1 Watt radios and high gain antennas] and expand them to the 5.15-5.25 GHz band [limited to indoor 50mW radios]. If we do, we could effectively double unlicensed bandwidth in the 5 GHz band overnight. That will mean more unlicensed service—and less congestion on licensed wireless networks. That’s win-win.”

The WiFiForward coalition, launched last month, is calling for policymakers to open up more unlicensed spectrum.

Qualcomm is also promoting the use of LTE in the unlicensed bands.

WiFiForward members include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, NCTA, CEA, Google, Microsoft and others. Comcast and TWC, for example, hope to use the 5 GHz band for their own community networking. But the four high power unlicensed channels at 5.8 GHz are often congested by users who don’t pay Comcast any money.

The U-NII band covers 5.15-5.35 GHz and (more recently), the 5.470-5.825 GHz range. The 802.11a standard defines 12 fixed, nonoverlapping channels for use in the 5.0 GHz U-NII band. The new 802.11ac standard increased the channel width significantly, up to 160 MHz wide. Wireless ISPs generally use 5.725-5.825 GHz band, which allows for higher power, especially useful in pt to pt or point to multi-point backhaul connections.

The FCC seeks comment on making available an additional 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.35-5.47 GHz and 5.85-5.925 GHz bands for U-NII use.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House and Cablevision joined together in 2012 to share Wi-Fi hot spots to provide Internet access for their broadband customers that total about 41 million. Comcast alone has added 1 million hot spots by deploying Wi-Fi routers that beam an additional “public” hot spot available to its customers.

Tom Nagel, Comcast’s senior vice president of business development, would like to take over the “free” WiFi band, reports CED Magazine:

“I think we really want to get to 160 MHZ block channels. Today Wi-Fi is at 20 MHz channels. If I can do 160 MHZ, we can generate something close to a gigabit Wi-Fi and doing that not only makes the outdoor broadband better, but all of the in home connectivity better as well.”

The 5.15-5.25 GHz band could effectively be the Comcast/TWC band. They already have pole rights.

Then Comcast could charge for the air.

Related Dailywireless articles include; FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, Comcast Buying Time Warner Cable?, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network, FCC Paves Way for 3.5GHz Band Nationwide, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Incentive Auctions: Going Nuclear, AT&T Fears FCC’s Incentive Auction Plans, FCC Moves on TV Frequency Auction, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, FCC Gets Unlicensed White Spaces in Payroll Tax Bill, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, White Space War, FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T,

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 12:27 pm .

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