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FCC Commissioner Wants More Spectrum for WiFi

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Jan 27, 2015, 1:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel today said the government needs to do a better job of allocating spectrum for unlicensed access, such as WiFi. Rosenworcel, speaking at the State of the Net Conference, emphasized the importance of WiFi and the role it plays in the economy. For example, she noted more than half of Americans have used public hotspots and more than 60% of Americans use WiFi at home. Rosenworcel outlined three steps in order to make sure the availability of WiFi continues to grow with demand. First, she wants the FCC to commit to freeing up more spectrum for WiFi, such as the white space spectrum in the 600MHz band. Second, she wants the government to change the way it accounts for spectrum, assigning more value to spectrum set aside for unlicensed access. Third, she made clear that the FCC will not tolerate willful interference with WiFi. Last year, several hotels asked the FCC to allow them to "manage" guest access to personal hotspots in the name of security. Rosenworcel wants the hotels' petition denied. "Let's not let this petition linger or create any uncertainty. I hope my colleagues at the FCC will work with me to dismiss this petition without delay," argued Rosenworcel. She concluded by saying, "I believe the future of wireless connectivity will be stronger if we make room for more WiFi."

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