Rep. McNerney Leads Bipartisan Call for FCC to Unlock 6 GHz Band for Unlicensed Use
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai asking that the Chairman move forward with opening up the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use. Rep. McNerney was joined by his colleague Morgan Griffith (VA-09).
“We write to urge you to move forward expeditiously with making the entire 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use, and to do so in a way that protects incumbent users operating in the band from harmful interference. We believe the 6 GHz band’s greatest potential would be realized by unlocking all 1200 MHz of the band for unlicensed use—this would foster innovation and greatly benefit American consumers and our nation’s economy,” Reps. McNerney and Griffith wrote.
The full text of the letter is available below and here.
“Dear Chairman Pai:
We write to urge you to move forward expeditiously with making the entire 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use, and to do so in a way that protects incumbent users operating in the band from harmful interference. We believe the 6 GHz band’s greatest potential would be realized by unlocking all 1200 MHz of the band for unlicensed use—this would foster innovation and greatly benefit American consumers and our nation’s economy.
Today, the use of Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies continues to surge, while the unlicensed spectrum bands in which these technologies operate are nearing capacity. Wi-Fi plays an essential role for connectivity in our society and has been transformative for consumers across the country—from enabling innovations in the delivery of health care and education to advancements in smart farming. The launch of Wi-Fi 6 has the potential to bring higher speeds and capacity and promote robust innovation in unlicensed uses. However, without access to a significant amount of additional unlicensed spectrum, we will not be able to fully realize these benefits. Furthermore, failing to make additional unlicensed spectrum available could stifle our nation’s leadership in 5G—both because of the growing mobile traffic that offloads onto Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi 6’s complimentary role in the broader 5G ecosystem. The 6 GHz band would provide the much-needed spectrum for unlicensed use.
It is critical that incumbent users operating in the 6 GHz band are protected from harmful interference. We are encouraged by the fact that Wi-Fi has a proven track record of sharing successfully with incumbent services without causing harmful interference, including successful sharing with Department of Defense radar systems in other spectrum bands. More generally, we are also encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission’s extensive technical expertise in and experience with establishing mechanisms for protecting licensed users from harmful interference.
We hope that you will move forward soon to make the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use and do so in a way that protects incumbent operations in the band. Swift adoption of policies that unleash the entire 6 GHz band for unlicensed use would maximize the benefits for consumers and ensure that the United States continues to lead globally in the advancement of Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies.”
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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.