FCC Moving to Provide More Capacity for Wi-Fi Networks

The agency's chairman says major hubs like convention centers and airports could benefit from release of unlicensed spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to provide more capacity for Wi-Fi networks — an effort that should enhance consumer access to high definition video over the wireless networks, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday.

Getty

“Today, the FCC is moving to bring increased speed and capacity to Wi-Fi networks by increasing the amount of unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi,” Genachowski said in a speech at CES in Las Vegas. 

Genachowski said that over the next month the FCC would release the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available for expansion of Wi-Fi since 2003.

“As this spectrum comes on line, we expect it to relieve congested Wi-Fi networks at major hubs like convention centers and airports,” Genachowski added. “It will also help in homes as tablets and smartphones proliferate and video use rises. 

Consumer advocacy groups responded positively to the news.

"It would be great for consumers if more spectrum is freed up for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses," said John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney for Public Knowledge.

“Consumers already benefit from the ubiquitous and easy connectivity that Wi-Fi provides, and with more spectrum it could be even more capable,” Bergmayer said.