By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
As the FCC’s final ruling on the 6 GHz band nears – as previously reported this could happen already next month – the US mobile industry headed up by the CTIA is launching a last-ditch effort to publicly discredit 6 GHz Wi-Fi proponents. And the CTIA’s gloves are now coming off – although not very elegantly.
The US mobile industry headed up by the CTIA is launching a last-ditch campaign to discredit 6 GHz Wi-Fi proponents as the FCC’s final and historic ruling on Wi-Fi for the 6 GHz band moves closer. The decision – including releasing all of 1.2 GHz of spectrum to unlicensed use – could come as early as next month. In what arguably is now a last-ditch effort, the CTIA is resorting to direct public attacks on the consortium of cablecos and tech giants leading 6 GHz Wi-Fi push.
Last week the CTIA published two blogs on the issue. The first – which can be found here – claims the US is alone in ‘giving away’ 1.2 GHz of spectrum, specifically naming ‘cable, Facebook, and Google’ as the architects of the scheme. The claims are patently false, sources tell Wi-Fi NOW.
Firstly, the blog fails to mention the breadth of the consortium working to support the release of 1.2 GHz of new unlicensed spectrum by naming only ‘cable, Facebook, & Google’, ‘cable’ in this case referring to the US cable industry including Charter, Comcast, and others.
As reported by Wi-Fi NOW only a few weeks ago the actual consortium of 6 GHz proponents now spans 33 companies and organisations including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Broadcom, Cisco, HPE, and many more. For the full list see the last page of this recent FCC ex-parte filing by the consortium.
Secondly, the blog claims there is ‘a global consensus’ against allocating the full 1.2 GHz to unlicensed use. Sources knowledgable on the matter tell Wi-Fi NOW that this is false. The mandate for Europe was originally for the full 1.2 GHz band but was reduced to 500 MHz since European administrations prefer a two-phase approach to releasing the full band and because the higher part of the band is in a transitional phase so that interference studies are not possible, sources say.
This filing by the NCTA also lays out the case that there exists no international plan or consensus for clearing and laying out half of the 6 GHz to mobile use, as the CTIA and others claim.
The second CTIA blog – which arguably reads like a rant – can be found here and wildly attacks 6 GHz proponents for alleged inconsistencies in argumentation. It also misrepresents and tries to to derail the Wi-Fi spectrum discussion by pointing to allocation of unlicensed millimetre-wave frequencies (60 GHz) and CBRS-bands – neither of which are suitable for Wi-Fi – as examples of the FCC already addressing the need for more unlicensed spectrum.
Meanwhile there appears to be unanimous political support at the FCC – including by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai himself – for making the 6 GHz band available to Wi-Fi. The consortium of 6 GHz Wi-Fi proponents has during the last two years provided the FCC with copious volumes of documentation, test results, calculation results, as well as practical implementation guides on how to make sure Wi-Fi can be operated in the full 6 GHz band without detriment to incumbent users.