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Rubio, Booker Continue Push To Expand Spectrum To Meet Needs Of Consumers

Jun 24, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to swiftly move forward with its efforts to conduct testing in the 5.9 gHz band to maximize the use of wireless spectrum. In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the sponsors of the WiFi Innovation Act stated the importance of expanding spectrum availability to support the growing wireless needs of consumers.

“As the sponsors of the Wi-Fi Innovation Act, we have long supported efforts to meet the wireless needs of consumers by freeing up underutilized spectrum to maximize unlicensed use in the 5.9 GHz band,” the senators wrote. “Just last month an industry report indicated that Americans consumed a record 9.6 trillion megabits of data in 2015, more than doubling the amount of data used in 2014. The demand for wireless spectrum cannot be understated, which is why we write to applaud your efforts to set further timelines and guidelines to ensure a robust spectrum testing process which will determine whether and how spectrum in this band can safely and efficiently be shared between incumbent users and unlicensed uses such as Wi-Fi.

“Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Department of Transportation must work together with industry to help meet this demand, while also ensuring that the transportation technologies utilizing this band can operate safely when such technology is deployed in the future,” the senators continued. “The public notice recently issued by the Commission sets forth clear guidelines to test prototype devices and most importantly, includes deadlines to complete testing by early 2017. We strongly encourage you to adhere to these timelines.”

A PDF of the letter is available here and the full text is below:

The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

As the sponsors of the Wi-Fi Innovation Act, we have long supported efforts to meet the wireless needs of consumers by freeing up underutilized spectrum to maximize unlicensed use in the 5.9 GHz band.  Just last month an industry report indicated that Americans consumed a record 9.6 trillion megabits of data in 2015, more than doubling the amount of data used in 2014. The demand for wireless spectrum cannot be understated, which is why we write to applaud your efforts to set further timelines and guidelines to ensure a robust spectrum testing process which will determine whether and how spectrum in this band can safely and efficiently be shared between incumbent users and unlicensed uses such as Wi-Fi.

Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Department of Transportation must work together with industry to help meet this demand, while also ensuring that the transportation technologies utilizing this band can operate safely when such technology is deployed in the future. The public notice recently issued by the Commission sets forth clear guidelines to test prototype devices and most importantly, includes deadlines to complete testing by early 2017. We strongly encourage you to adhere to these timelines.

The 5.9 GHz band represents a unique opportunity to maximize the efficient use of a valuable resource. The FCC, along with relevant public and private sector stakeholders must seize this opportunity to conduct testing and find solutions to interference now. We urge the FCC to proceed expeditiously with collaborative testing to determine how unlicensed devices can coexist with existing users of the band. We are confident the FCC can identify and successfully resolve any potential interference issues through thorough analysis and testing, and we hope this process will ultimately unleash innovation, spur the economy, and expand Wi-Fi while protecting safety-of-life transportation systems.  We commend Commissioners O’Reilly and Rosenworcel for their bipartisan leadership on this issue and their commitment to moving this process forward.

Thank you for your continued work and attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you to address the spectrum crunch and expand spectrum availability to support the growing wireless needs of consumers.

Sincerely,

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Cory Booker

Representative Darrell Issa

Representative Bob Latta

Representative Doris Matsui

Representative Anna G. Eshoo