FCC to make additional spectrum available

10 January 2013 | Kavit Majithia


US regulator the FCC is planning to make additional spectrum available for technology innovators in a bid to avoid congestion on Wifi networks.

The commission is reportedly considering how to free up unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band for Wifi networks next month.

The FCC’s plans were announced by chairman Julius Genachowski at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday.

The additional spectrum is presently used by federal agencies, but there is a push by the FCC to open it up to consumers for new services, including home Wifi networks. Growing usage of Wifi has already led to capacity issues, including slow download speeds.

Genachowski believes the available spectrum for Wifi could increase by 35% with new proposals.

The US government is reportedly keen to avoid a ‘spectrum crunch’ and will initiate plans for incentive auctions, which could lead to TV broadcasters also releasing unused spectrum.

The FCC confirmed the importance of cellular data offload through Wifi, with increasing data traffic on tablets and smartphones.