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Globalstar Inc. Message Board

  • Feb 14, 2013 8:28 PM Flag

    FCC to Open Additional Unlicensed Spectrum for Wi-Fi Use

    In fulfillment of congressional mandates, and in hopes of relieving congestion on existing Wi-Fi networks, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the FCC will launch rulemaking proceedings next month to make additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available on an unlicensed, shared basis for Wi-Fi operations. Appearing last week at the annual Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) trade show in Las Vegas, Genachowski said the agency would move to free up 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band as part of a government-wide effort to boost Wi-Fi transmission speeds and alleviate congestion at locations with heavy Wi-Fi use such as airports and convention centers. Observing that the proposed allocation would constitute the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available for Wi-Fi use since 2003, Genachowski told reporters that the FCC’s plan would boost by 35% spectrum resources that are considered suitable for next-generation “gigabit Wi-Fi” services. The agency’s rulemaking proceeding corresponds with provisions of the 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act that require the FCC to explore the possibility of making unlicensed spectrum resources available for Wi-Fi. The spectrum involved in the FCC’s proposal is currently used by both government and non-government users. Though acknowledging that there is “a lot of work to do with federal agencies that have this spectrum,” Genachowski nevertheless voiced confidence that “the spectrum can be shared.” Meanwhile, at a panel session following the announcement, Genachowski’s fellow commissioners strongly endorsed the proposal. Citing propagation characteristics of the 5 GHz channels in question that offer high throughput with low interference, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai proclaimed that he is “especially bullish” on the upcoming proceeding. Predicting that the FCC’s plan, once implemented, “will enable higher data speeds and greater capacity—including improved HD video distribution capability—and will help every consumer with a Wi-Fi enabled device,” CEA President Gary Shapiro said his organization “enthusiastically applauds Chairman Genachowski and the FCC for . . . expediting ultra-high speed, high capacity Wi-Fi in support of the U.S. economy.”
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    • FCC will hold an Open Meeting at 10:30 EST on 5 GHz Band & Signal Boosters
      Watch live on FCC:gov website

    • As a result, Globalstar would need both quick action from the FCC and to strike a partnership (or long term spectrum lease) in 2013 or early 2014 enabling rapid deployment of a small cell network. In that regard, the fact that the FCC has acted much more quickly to put Globalstar’s proposal on public notice (2 weeks) than the recent LightSquared petition (which took 6 weeks) suggests that the FCC may well consider Globalstar’s proposal with rather more urgency. This certainly marks a significant turnaround in Globalstar’s relationship with the FCC,

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