By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Europeans should be celebrating today – and not (at least not yet) because of the football: The European Commission today formally released the lower 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi. The decision was formally announced in the Official Journal of the European Union and is now binding for EU member states. At the global level the EU is still far behind the Americas, the Middle East, and parts of Asia in allocating 6 GHz spectrum.
The European Commission today formally released 480 MHz of (low) 6 GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi. The announcement came in the form of publication of the new rules in the Official Journal of the European Union here. The decision is binding for all EU member states. This in practice means that every EU member state must update their national frequency allocation plans to reflect the 6 GHz decision before December 1, 2021, sources say.
“Some countries – like Germany, for example – have already announced that they expect to update their national regulation sooner, and other countries probably also will make it happen before the formal deadline of December 1,” says Detlef Fuehrer, Senior Manager, Spectrum Management and Regulatory Affairs, EMEA at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Enjoying this story?Leave your email here and we'll get you all the latest Wi-Fi news.
The decision applies only to LPI (Low Power Indoor) and VLP (Very Low Power portable) devices. Unlike for example in the US and Canada, standard power operation for indoor and outdoor devices (using AFC) are not as yet permitted within the EU.
Europe lags the rest of the world in 6 GHz Wi-Fi
From an international perspective, the EU is still lagging much of the rest of the world as far as unlicensed 6 GHz spectrum allocation is concerned. The US, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Korea, and Saudi Arabia have already announced allocation of the full 1.2 GHz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi and many other countries are expected to follow (also see the full global 6 GHz regulatory update here).
The Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi NOW, and other wireless industry organisations have repeatedly called for Europe – via the CEPT regulatory body – to at least begin to study the applicability of the higher 6 GHz band to unlicensed use, although – to our current knowledge – no such regulatory work group has yet been formed. As a consequence, Europe risks falling significantly behind the rest of the world in the availability of low-cost, high-speed wireless communications.