FCC proposes help for WiFi networks

Feb. 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The Federal Communication Commission says it proposes to free up more wireless spectrum to make WiFi faster and ease congestion on U.S. public networks.

In a meeting Wednesday, the commission approved a proposal for 195 megahertz of additional wireless spectrum in the 5 gigahertz band to be used for unlicensed WiFi use, CNET reported.

That represents a 35 percent increase in available unlicensed spectrum and is the largest block of wireless spectrum the five-member commission has opened for unlicensed use in 10 years.

The additional spectrum should provide faster upload and download speeds at WiFi hot spots and should mean less congestion on major WiFi networks in public places such as airports and convention centers.

"This proposal today is based on a tremendous amount of engineering work," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. "So we don't now see any reason why we can't put 195 new megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed use on the market and do it in a way that's compatible with other existing users."

The FCC said it will now collect comments on the proposed rules before finalizing them, a process analysts forecast would take months and maybe a year.

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