The Beacon

FCC must proceed on 6 GHz NPRM to meet growing spectrum demand

September 13, 2018 by Alex Roytblat, Wi-Fi Alliance

Yesterday, Congressional Spectrum Caucus Co-Chairs Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mike O’Reilly teamed up to co-author an Op-Ed article calling for the FCC to expeditiously issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to open 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.425-7.125 GHz spectrum (collectively the 6 GHz band) for unlicensed use.

Wi-Fi Alliance® supports a 6 GHz rulemaking focused on relieving the urgent demand for unlicensed spectrum access. We commend Representatives Matsui and Guthrie and Commissioners Rosenworcel and O’Reilly for their steadfast and bipartisan leadership. Democrats and Republicans, lawmakers and regulators, and industry and consumers all agree now is the time to free up more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi®.

In the article, Rep. Matsui and Guthrie and Commissioners Rosenworcel and O’Reilly make clear that spectrum availability is critical to ensuring U.S. leadership in next generation wireless innovation. Wi-Fi depends on unlicensed spectrum access to make the modern wireless ecosystem function. Wi-Fi Alliance’s Spectrum Needs Study demonstrates there is an unmet and increasing need for unlicensed spectrum to achieve the benefits of new applications and services associated with 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) to grow the U.S. economy.

Further, the Op-Ed authors explain that today, Wi-Fi has an estimated economic value of more than $500 billion, and Wi-Fi economic value continues to grow.  Wi-Fi Alliance commissioned a new study on the specific economic contributions of Wi-Fi which will be released next month.  The results are compelling and further justify FCC action on a 6 GHz NPRM for unlicensed use.

The Op-Ed authors highlight the importance of protecting incumbent operators in the 6 GHz band. An NPRM is the best approach for engaging existing 6 GHz spectrum users and new entrants in constructive dialogue aimed at resolving spectrum sharing concerns. Wi-Fi Alliance will play a leading role in exploring solutions for mitigating interference. Wi-Fi Alliance recently filed an ex parte letter with the FCC outlining regulatory solutions for protecting Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) uplink and Fixed-microwave operations in the 6 GHz band.

Wi-Fi Alliance has provided the FCC with strategic recommendations for developing rules for the 6 GHz band that promote device manufacturing and design efficiencies that will translate into cost savings for consumers. Wi-Fi Alliance supports 6 GHz rules that are similar to those for the adjacent 5 GHz unlicensed band, offering benefits related to commonality of equipment and aggregated bandwidth. Wi-Fi Alliance is committed to continuing its cooperation with the 6 GHz incumbents as well as both the FCC and Congress to make 6 GHz spectrum available to meet the demands for unlicensed spectrum capacity while protecting legacy services in this spectrum.

In July, FCC voted to issue an NPRM on opening 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum for licensed use. We agree with Reps. Matsui and Guthrie and Commissioners Rosenworcel and O’Reilly that the FCC should address both the need for additional licensed and additional unlicensed spectrum together. The necessary next step is now for the FCC to proceed on a 6 GHz NPRM.

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to info@wi-fi.org.

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Alex Roytblat

Wi-Fi Alliance

Senior Director, Worldwide Regulatory Affairs

Alex Roytblat is Senior Director of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs at Wi-Fi Alliance, where he is responsible for the organization’s overall regulatory strategy.  In his role, Alex works with the Wi-Fi Alliance members and the executive team on the development of regulatory objectives and directs advocacy for the implementation of these objectives with governments, regulators and international organizations.

With over 20 years of experience in the field of international telecom regulations, Alex is an internationally recognized industry advocate. Prior to joining Wi-Fi Alliance, Alex served at the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he was involved in all phases of domestic and international radio spectrum management processes. Previously, Alex held technical roles for Stanford Telecommunications and Booz Allen & Hamilton.