COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Revision of Part 15 of the Commission's Rules Regarding Operation in the 57-64 GHz Band
Docket No. 07-113 and RM-11104
With this proceeding, it feels like we go to the galaxy and beyond. We explore the far reaches of
our current horizons for spectrum policy. Instead of talking, as we usually do, of spectrum at 5 GHz or
below, we set our sights higher. Much higher. We take action in the 60 GHz band.
That is way up there. So what can we use this lofty frequency for?
As it turns out, some really neat things.
First, the 60 GHz band can be used outdoors to send unlicensed signals from one building to the
next. That means new ways of extending the reach of fiber optic networks from buildings that are
connected to those that are not, without the crushing time and expense of trenching and construction. So
to help facilitate these opportunities, we increase outdoor power limits and improve our metrics for
Second, the 60 GHz band can be used indoors to form wide bandwidth channels for a new Wi-Fi
standard called 802.11ad. This new standard can lead to the development of small personal networks,
ideal for streaming high-definition videos to multiple devices in the same room. That means when you
bring up something on your laptop and yearn to see it on a big screen or share it with others nearby, you
can instantaneously port it to your television set. But that is only one neat way to use this technology;
because there is endless cool that can come with your own personal wireless network.
While we are at it, let's go beyond the potential in the Wi-Fi standard at issue here--802.11ad--
and talk about another Wi-Fi technology--802.11ac. Admittedly, this sounds like techno babble. It reads
like a jumble of numbers and letters that only an engineer could love. But we should all have affection
for the power of Wi-Fi and the possibilities these two standards could unleash. The former, 802.11ad,
uses the 60 GHz band to provide unlicensed services across a room. The latter, 802.11ac, uses the 5 GHz
band to enable unlicensed networks across a city. Together they can pack a powerful punch.
It was six months ago when the Commission began its proceeding on 5 GHz, noting the
possibilities for unlicensed spectrum in the 5.150-5.250 GHz band and the potential for use with the
802.11ac standard. Fast forward. On July 17 of last month, our federal colleagues wrote an important
letter regarding ongoing efforts to make the 1755-1780 MHz band available for auction in the near term.
But in some ways, this letter buried the lede. Because in it, they noted that they do not need access to this
portion of the 5 GHz band for telemetry, leaving it available for Wi-Fi consideration.
We should go beyond our efforts in the 60 GHz band here and also seize this opportunity. We
can take the flexible rules that have been the script for an unlicensed success story in the 5.725-5.825
GHz band and expand them to this lower portion of the 5 GHz band. If we do, the 802.11ac standard is
bound to really take off. This will mean more potential for unlicensed in this band--and less congestion
on licensed wireless networks.
From the 5 GHz band to the heights of 60 GHz, our unlicensed policies can do a range of good
and innovative things. So I hope we can continue to be on the lookout for new ideas for unlicensed
services--across multiple spectrum bands.
Thank you to the Office of Engineering and Technology for your terrific work way up there in the
60 GHz band. You are pushing the frontiers of our spectrum policy, and with the sky no longer the limit,
I am proud to support your efforts--including this Report and Order.