FCC Votes to Ease Use of High-Speed Spectrum for Wi-Fi

Agency Streamlines Use of 60 GHz Band for Backhaul; Says it Could Become New 'Beachfront' Broadband Spectrum

The FCC voted Friday to streamline the rules surrounding ultra-high frequency spectrum -- in the 60 GHZ band (technically the 57-64 GHzfrequency band) -- once thought to be "junk" spectrum, but thanks to new tech potential could be "beachfront" property for wireless 4G backhaul home networking, and more.

The unamimous vote essentially makes it easier and more affordable to use unlicensed wireless spectrum in the band for a variety of uses that could boost rural access to mobile broadband and give home videophiles better access to video wherever they roam in their homes.

The FCC's rule change "allows a sensible increase in power levels, eliminates the obsolete mandate that devices transmit identification information, and streamlines other rules," said commissioner Ajit Pai. "In sum, it makes using 60 GHz spectrum easier and less expensive." Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said there was "endless cool" that can come with having one's own personal Wi-Fi network.

The decision was the latest in a series of FCC efforts to make it easier to use spectrum for advanced licensed and unlicensed services.