updated 09:15 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2013
Proposal frees spectrum in the 5GHz band, aiding Wi-Fi congestion
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced a proposal before the FCC to open up a "substantial" quantity of additional wireless spectrum for Wi-Fi, which would in theory allow for increased speed on wireless devices. The spectrum to be made available currently belongs to several Federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, and is mostly unused at present.
The proposal will open up 195MHz of new spectrum in the 5GHz band. Wi-Fi broadcasts in the 5GHz band are shorter-ranged, but subject to less interference. Freeing bandwidth in this region of the spectrum will aid congestion in dense Wi-Fi environments, such as apartment buildings or conventions -- as an example, the cramped range available to journalist trying to cover events like the CES or similar expositions.
"It's going to help spur entire new industries," said Genachowski. "By leaning into these opportunities, we increase the chance that the US is the country where new innovation is developed, and the market is developed." A report from the President's Council of Advisors suggested the spectrum reallocation in the summer of 2012.