Qualcomm, Intel, others urge Obama to release 5.9 GHz for Wi-Fi

A diverse group of organizations that do not often agree on policy matters rallied to urge President Barack Obama to make the 5.9 GHz band a "centerpiece" of his administration's efforts to make new unlicensed frequencies available for Wi-Fi.

The groups say they are committed to implementing a coexistence option that would reconfigure the band to permit Wi-Fi to share the band safely with incumbents and with Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) crash-avoidance applications.

They also point out that the FCC has initiated a proceeding to consider such sharing and is on the cusp of testing potential sharing solutions, in consultation with the Department of Transportation.

"But we will not succeed unless we move rapidly during this Administration, and with both agencies committed to making band sharing a reality in a way that both enables ITS crash-avoidance operations and permits commercially feasible unlicensed Wi-Fi equipment for enhanced broadband connectivity for U.S. consumers," said the letter addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. "Your leadership put us on the path to 500 MHz of new spectrum for broadband use – and we need your leadership again to ensure that we do not lose this unique opportunity to meet that goal during your Administration."

Signatories of the letter include the American Library Association, Broadcom, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Devicescape, Dell, Federated Wireless, Intel, Mimosa Networks, Open Technology Institute at New America, Public Knowledge, Ruckus Wireless, as well as the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB).

They note that the nation's Wi-Fi bands are becoming dangerously congested, a problem so severe that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Cisco have warned customers that the core 2.4 GHz unlicensed band is so overtaxed that it's not considered suitable for business or mission-critical enterprise applications.

The effort to create a shared system in the 5.9 GHz band certainly has its supporters among at least two FCC commissioners. More than a year ago, commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel rallied around the idea, saying there are ways to use it for Wi-Fi while protecting the dedicated short range communications service (DSRC) systems that are intended for road safety.

Obama himself has gone on record saying the technology in the White House, including Wi-Fi, is due for upgrades.

For more:
- see this WiFi Forward post

Related articles:
FCC commissioner renews call for 5.9 GHz band for Wi-Fi
Qualcomm, NCTA, auto makers push for 5.9 GHz testing for vehicles
Cisco, automakers to test 'listen, detect and avoid' protocol for auto safety in 5.9 GHz band
Two FCC commissioners advocate new uses for DSRC

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