Google reiterates support for increasing 2.4 GHz band Wi-Fi by activating Channel 14

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) executives met with FCC commissioners and their advisors last week to discuss rules for the 3.5 GHz spectrum band, as well as Globalstar's proposed Terrestrial Low Power Service (TLPS) that would occupy Wi-Fi Channel 14.

In the meeting, the executives reiterated their support for the commission to investigate increasing 2.4 GHz band Wi-Fi capacity by activating Wi-Fi Channel 14 while protecting Globalstar's licensed satellite operations.

"We observed that if the Commission were to allow Globalstar to test deployment of a proprietary Wi-Fi-type service in unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum on a preferential basis (which the Commission should not do), then such a trial should both protect and advance options for future use of Wi-Fi Channel 14 by the general public," Google Director of Communications Law Austin Schlick explained in an ex parte filing. "At a minimum, Globalstar should be required to (a) publish all protocol(s) its Network Operating System (NOS) uses to authorize spectrum used by TLPS devices in Channel 14 and (b) demonstrate that the NOS is capable of exchanging with non-TLPS devices all information needed for spectrum use in Channel 14, without reliance on non-public protocols or standards."

Jeremy Berry, an investor in Globalstar who urged the commission a year ago to approve Globalstar's proposal, notes that Google itself wants to keep confidential its plans to test at 2.5 GHz in the Educational Broadband Service (EBS). "Why should Globalstar provide the keys to their technology when their competitor (Google) is in the hunt for the same technology? Would Google be willing to divulge their technology to their competitors especially one operating in the 2.4 GHz range versus their range of 2.5 GHz?"

Berry said what he finds it troubling in Google ex parte filings is the common reference of general public use. "I am very grateful that Google cares about the general public but my question becomes, will Google return that same favor using the 2.5 GHz as they have requested on Globalstar? Also, Google has stated that if Globalstar should not fully use all the 2.4 GHz bandwidth in a certain time period then it should be made open to the general public," he told FierceWirelessTech. "My question again is will Google offer the same thing with 2.5 GHz?"

A Google representative was not immediately available for comment.

In other Globalstar developments, Greg Gerst of Gerst Capital also last week met with advisors to Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to discuss his concerns about Globalstar's technology.

Gerst says Wheeler, as a champion of technology to address challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, should be aware of TLPS concerns expressed by advocates for the hearing impaired. The Hearing Industries Association, for one, has said it is "gravely concerned" about technical demonstrations that show that Globalstar's proposed use of the 2473-2483.5 MHz portion of the 2.4 GHz band will degrade the performance of hearing instruments by causing unacceptable packet loss.

Gerst also is asking the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) to correct an error in a report that he says erroneously indicates the TLPS-enabled access points used in a March 31 demonstration were identical to commercially available versions with the same FCC ID.

Gerst discussed with commission staff how a set of simple, narrow tests, achievable in a matter of weeks, can answer key questions regarding risks TLPS poses to Bluetooth devices, such as hearing aids, in "real world environments. Such tests would require the use of Globalstar's TLPS-enabled clients and access points.

For more:
- see this filing

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