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Congress passes bill allowing Wi-Fi over unused TV spectrum

updated 06:45 pm EST, Fri February 17, 2012

Congress bill may bring next-gen 'super Wi-Fi'

Congress has has passed a bill allowing spectrum previously set aside for TV broadcasts to be used for next-generation Wi-Fi services and Bluetooth. According to CIO, a portion of the band will be offered up for unlicensed use by long-distance 'super Wi-Fi' services. A separate portion of the TV spectrum will be utilized as a nationwide mobile broadband service for emergency services.

At the same time as setting a portion of the TV spectrum for unlicensed use, and emergency services, Congress also made provisions for the remaining available spectrum to be reverse auctioned by the FCC. It is planned that this will encourage private investment in a planned nationwide buildout wireless services and is expected to raise $7 billion that will also help pay for payroll tax breaks.

'Congress' rejection of a requirement that the FCC auction all newly available spectrum, including unlicensed spectrum, underscores the general understanding that unlicensed spectrum is vital to our Internet economy,' the Wireless Innovation Alliance said in a statement.

However, end users may not see the benefits of the new bill, particularly in rural regions, for the next couple of years as the FCC may take between 12 to 24 months to set up process the auctions.

by MacNN Staff



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