D.C. Circuit Upholds Freed Up 6 GHz, Wireless Players Celebrate

Industry bigwigs say the decision paves the way for next-generation Wi-Fi.

D.C. Circuit Upholds Freed Up 6 GHz, Wireless Players Celebrate
Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, during U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit Sri Srinivasan’s official Investiture ceremony. September 26, 2013. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

WASHINGTON, December 29, 2021 – The D.C. Circuit Appeals Court decided Tuesday in a unanimous ruling to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to free up the 6 GHz band for next-generation Wi-Fi, the U.S.’s first gigabit Wi-Fi.

In its opinion Tuesday, the court stated that petitioners had not provided a basis for questioning the commission’s conclusion that such actions will sufficiently protect against risk of harmful interference with presently unlicensed devices. The commission ruled on the matter in April 2020.

The court accepted only one petition for review from licensed radio and television broadcasters using the 6 GHz band.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel welcomed the court’s decision, emphasizing that next-generation Wi-Fi is especially needed at the present with further moves of society online brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“6 GHz Wi-Fi will help us address this challenge by offering more access in more places, faster speeds, and better performance from our Wi-Fi networks,” said Rosenworcel, “It will also help us in our mission to connect everyone, everywhere.”

In celebrating the decision, NCTA – The Internet and Television Association complimented the FCC’s work on 6 GHz policy.

“The Commission’s carefully crafted technical rules ensure that these new technologies, which are already entering the marketplace, can flourish without causing harmful interference to licensed users in the band,” said an association statement.

Public Knowledge, the group co-founded by President Joe Biden’s outstanding FCC nominee Gigi Sohn, had filed an amicus brief with the court supporting the FCC and additionally noted their organization’s satisfaction with the implications of the court’s decision for 5G deployment.

“Opening the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use enables the deployment of next-generation Wi-Fi, called Wi-Fi 6e, as well as other important services necessary for deploying 5G,” said a release from the organization.

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