Wi-Fi Alliance® welcomes introduction of Wi-Fi Innovation Act

Austin, Texas, February 10, 2015 –Today in the United States Congress, Senators Rubio
(R-FL) and Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Wi-Fi Innovation Act, with a House companion measure co-sponsored by Representatives Latta (R-OH) and Eshoo (D-CA). The bill directs the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to closely study the impact of opening the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for use by a wide array of devices.

Wi-Fi Alliance® welcomes the proposed U.S. legislation and urges lawmakers to take action swiftly to advance innovation in unlicensed spectrum.

“We applaud this group of Senators and Representatives for their recognition of the value of unlicensed spectrum in enabling innovation and economic benefits today,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “It’s well understood that more unlicensed spectrum is critical to meet our society’s ongoing requirements for connectivity.”

Unlicensed spectrum has created significant economic opportunities in the U.S. and worldwide. Recent studies assess the worldwide economic value of Wi-Fi® to have been well above $200 billion in 2013, and with growth in Wi-Fi offloading, sales of Wi-Fi equipment, and other drivers of economic activity related to unlicensed spectrum usage, the economic benefit is predicted to exceed $500 billion in 2017.

The proposed legislation would require the FCC to develop spectrum-sharing tests to examine how devices may use the 5.9 GHz spectrum band in the U.S. without negative impact to other users, and to open the spectrum to Wi-Fi devices, unless it identifies a compelling reason not to do so.  

“Although this spectrum was allocated fifteen years ago for future use in vehicular communications, it remains underutilized today,” continued Figueroa. “Wi-Fi includes a number of proven mechanisms that make it capable of sharing spectrum with other technologies, and these mechanisms can be adapted to enable shared use of the 5.9 GHz band. We are eager to work closely with the FCC, DoT and NTIA to provide technical expertise and industry feedback during their examination of the issue.”

Please visit www.wi-fi.org for more information on the various Wi-Fi Alliance technologies and certification programs available today and in development.

About Wi-Fi Alliance®
Wi-Fi Alliance® is a global non-profit industry association – our members are the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. The members of our collaboration forum come from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem and share a common vision of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere. Since 2000, the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, industry-standard security protections, and the latest technology. Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 23,000 products, delivering the best user experience and encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets. Today, billions of
Wi-Fi products carry a significant portion of the world’s data traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications.