Addressing the audience at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski revealed that the watchdog is poised to kick off a government-wide effort to increase transmission speeds and alleviate Wi-Fi congestion at major hubs, such as airports, convention centres and large conference gatherings. The move, he said, will see the unlicensed spectrum available for high speed, high-capacity Wi-Fi – known as ‘Gigabit Wi-Fi’ – increased by up to 35%. Genachowski said that the FCC will take the first steps next month to unleash up to 195MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz band. The FCC’s move marks the largest block of unlicensed spectrum made available for the expansion of Wi-Fi services since 2003.
Genachowski commented: ‘We all know the frustration of Wi-Fi congestion at conferences and airports … When the FCC helped pioneer Wi-Fi nearly thirty years ago – through an innovative spectrum policy that relied on unlicensed use – no one knew the potential it held. But that FCC-created platform for innovation gave us cordless phones, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, benefitting consumers and our economy massively. We’ll keep nurturing today’s Wi-Fi as we also develop a next generation of spectrum policies to drive our mobile future for our innovators and our economy’.