The following statement is attributable to Bill Maguire, director of WifiForward’s Save our Wi-Fi campaign on the introduction of The Promoting Unlicensed Spectrum Act of 2015 (original release below):
We applaud the co-sponsors of the Federal Incentive Spectrum Act for their innovative approach to freeing up more spectrum for our growing mobile broadband usage. We are hopeful that policymakers will consider making more spectrum available for unlicensed use as these frequencies become available. Wi-Fi carries the majority of Internet traffic and unlicensed spectrum has led to the creation of new technologies that consumers rely on, new jobs and businesses, and billions of dollars in economic growth annually (generating more than $222 billion in 2013 and an expected $547 billion in 2017) and we’re hopeful these leading policymakers prioritize finding a balance between unlicensed and licensed policy.
WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2015) – The R Street Institute announced today it has joined a host of technology companies and public-policy groups in the Wifi Forward coalition. The coalition aims to preserve, protect and extend existing technical specifications for Wi-Fi use.
WifiForward commends the Broadband Opportunity Council for underscoring the importance of Wi-Fi, powered by unlicensed spectrum, to our communities. Wi-Fi serves as a crucial on-ramp to the Internet, connecting citizens who have the fewest options for getting online. That connectivity is essential in providing access to job and educational opportunities, improving commerce, supporting economic development, and providing a sandbox for wireless innovation.
The members of WifiForward believe that Wi-Fi and unlicensed technologies are critical to the U.S. economy and to consumers. Intensive and innovative use of unlicensed spectrum frequencies – which power Wi-Fi and many other consumer and industrial technologies like Bluetooth, ZigBee and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – is an incredible success story:
Today, The Senate Commerce Committee and a wide variety of stakeholders from the automotive and telecommunications industries announced progress initiating the testing of spectrum sharing between connected vehicles and Wi-Fi and other technology in the 5.9 gigahertz band, in a pair of letters from lawmakers and industry stakeholders to the heads of three federal agencies. (Senate letter on 5 GHz , Letter on testing)
Everyone loves Wi-Fi, powered by unlicensed spectrum, and as Chairman Wheeler recognizes, it’s a critical part of our mobile broadband ecosystem. While no single user speaks for unlicensed spectrum, numerous users of unlicensed spectrum want to work with Qualcomm and carriers to ensure that technologies like Wi-Fi and LTE-U can co-exist so that LTE-U doesn’t crowd out Wi-Fi. We agree with Chairman Wheeler: the standards-setting organizations should work cooperatively to reach a solution that works for everyone. But let’s be clear, American consumers and businesses have come to rely on technologies like Wi-Fi — the significant benefits of the unlicensed spectrum ecosystem should not be undermined.
WifiForward appreciates the FCC’s continued vigilance on LTE-U, and this effort to ensure that the technology does not disrupt millions of Wi-Fi consumers. The Commission has asked the right questions. We hope that all parties can now work together collaboratively in open standards bodies to find a solution that allows both LTE and Wi-Fi technologies to thrive, rather than launching the technology before co-existence standards are in place.
As the FCC and members of Congress recognize, increasing access to the 5.9 GHz frequency band is the only way to make fully-functional “Gigabit Wi-Fi” a reality. We thank Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) for their bi-partisan support and leadership.
Good morning. It’s a treat to be here at the State of the Net Conference. So thank you to the Internet Education Foundation for having me—and thank you for the good work you do to foster conversation about Internet policy.