WASHINGTON — In a case of dueling studies on the Wi-Fi front, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and mobile satellite interests are battling over the government’s planned expansion of the service into the 5-Gigahertz band.
Satellite operators continue to push back on Federal Communications Commission efforts, supported by cable operators, to expand Wi-Fi within the band.
The NCTA filed a study last month from the University of Colorado and CableLabs that it said showed that expanded Wi-Fi access in the band could co-exist with mobile satellite service.
Globalstar, which provides mobile satellite- delivered voice and data, offered up its own study. It concluded that expanding Wi-Fi would create harmful interference. Taking a page from broadcasters’ arguments to the FCC about wireless interference to their service, the study said Globalstar’s mobile-satellite network is critical to public safety communications.
Tom Nagel, senior vice president of business development for Comcast, said during a November House hearing that it was “crucial” for the FCC to start freeing up more of the 5-GHz spectrum for unlicensed use to avoid growing Wi-Fi congestion and allow for the 1 Gigabit Wi-Fi that requires larger swaths of spectrum.
Cable already uses the band for Wi-Fi, but could use more capacity to deal with growing congestion, particularly in urban areas, and to develop faster wideband service.