In December 2021, utilities and other groups petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay opening 6 GHz to unlicensed users because "a new generation of unlicensed 6G routers and other wireless devices" could cause dangerous inference issues. Despite additional warnings (see 1, 2), in November 2022, the "captured" agency provided conditional approval for testing anyway. More recently, Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced she wants to further expand its use. Ay carumba!
From Inside Towers:
Rosenworcel Proposes Next Step for 6 GHz Band Use
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed new rules this week to allow very low power devices to operate in the 6 GHz band alongside other WiFi-enabled devices. If adopted at the Commission's October 19 meeting, the rules will enable cutting-edge applications such as augmented and virtual reality, that will help businesses, enhance learning opportunities, advance healthcare opportunities, and bring new entertainment experiences, according to the FCC. (The Commission told employees and contractors yesterday that, in the event of a government shutdown, it plans to remain open through October 20, using funding other than appropriations.)
"Countless innovations that have made our lives easier and more convenient are dependent on unlicensed spectrum. The 6 GHz band has already improved the WiFi that we rely on every day for work, school, entertainment, and innovation," said Rosenworcel. "I hope my colleagues will join me to foster a new wave of innovation in devices that will benefit consumers in exciting ways and bolster U.S. leadership in advanced wireless technologies."
As advocated by then-Commissioner Rosenworcel along with then-Commissioner Mike O'Reilly, the FCC expanded unlicensed use in 1,200 MHz of spectrum between 5.925 and 7.125 GHz. The agency says that decision has helped usher in WiFi 6 and played a major role in the growth of the IoT. The latest proposal builds off this success to allow for other types of operations in the band, according to the agency.