Groups Urge Congress to Preserve Unlicensed Spectrum for 'Super Wi-Fi'

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A coalition of tech companies and consumer and civil rights groups, among others, have come together to ask Congress to preserve unlicensed “white spaces” spectrum in the existing television bands for new types of wireless products and services.

In a letter to the Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction signed by 92 organizations cited the value of unlicensed TV white spaces for the next generation of unlicensed wireless broadband technologies known as “Super Wi-Fi.” TV band spectrum allows signals to travel longer distances, penetrating trees and walls more effectively than other spectrum, according to the group.

Super Wi-Fi, which is the next generation of long-distance wireless Internet access, would rely on unlicensed television spectrum. Its Internet signals would be able to travel for miles and through brick walls, according to a blog post on The Hill.

“The letter notes that a variety of technologies use unlicensed spectrum, including garage door openers, remote controls, Bluetooth devices and baby monitors,” the post said.

“Clearing spectrum for auction and moving broadcasters to the lower portion of the TV band will reduce the available TV white spaces,” the group warned in its letter.

Unlicensed spectrum has been, and continues to be, a powerful catalyst for innovation and job creation, the groups said.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC) was born out of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and is charged with issuing a formal recommendation on how to reduce the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. The committee is co-chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).


Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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