COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI
Revision of Part 15 of the Commission's Rules Regarding Operation in the 57-64 GHz Band
Docket No. 07-113 and RM-11104
We spend a lot of time thinking about the best spectrum policy for the 600 MHz band. In fact, we
will discuss the 600 MHz band later this morning. But first, we shorten our attention span. Literally--
wavelengths at 60 GHz are approximately 100 times shorter than the wavelengths found in the broadcast
spectrum. This is extremely high-frequency spectrum. It's so high that it didn't even make it onto the list
of so-called "junk" bands that the Commission made available for unlicensed use in the 1980s.
However, to borrow the title of a 1985 film starring Emilio Estevez, "That Was Then, This Is
Now." Currently, one of the biggest challenges we face at the Commission is harnessing enough
spectrum to accommodate the growing demand for mobile broadband services. The 60 GHz band can
play an important role in meeting this challenge. The signals' short-range propagation and inability to
penetrate walls allows for heavy reuse of the spectrum in dense urban areas without causing interference.
And critically, the channels are wide; we have previously allocated an enormous 7 GHz of spectrum for
unlicensed use. This large, contiguous swath of spectrum between 5764 GHz could enable high data
throughput--precisely what is needed for advanced wireless applications.
This is why I enthusiastically support today's order. It modernizes the Part 15 unlicensed rules
that govern the 60 GHz band, which were established about a decade before we fully understood the
potential for these frequencies. It allows a sensible increase in power levels, eliminates the obsolete
mandate that devices transmit identification information, and streamlines other rules. In sum, it makes
using 60 GHz spectrum easier and less expensive.
So what will it be used for? We're still in the early stages of development, but the 60 GHz band
holds promise for meeting the needs of consumers who increasingly use high-bandwidth applications.
Already, the new 60 GHz IEEE 802.11ad standard (known as WiGig) will enable consumers to stream
uncompressed high definition video from a DVD player, a tablet, or a personal computer to a television in
the same room without relying on a wired connection. Other applications are limited only by the
imagination: point-to-point backhaul, machine-to-machine communications, the list goes on. Both as a
Commissioner and as a consumer, I'm excited to see the innovation that these reforms will spur in the
years to come.
I commend Chairwoman Clyburn for her leadership and thank the Office of Engineering
Technology for its thoughtful treatment of the issues in this rulemaking. The prospect of a world gone
wireless makes it crucial that the Commission establish a forward-thinking, flexible spectrum policy.
Today's order is an example of the agency doing just that.