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FCC releases more frequencies for wireless commons

In 2010, the Obama Administration announced a road map to release 500 MHz of frequencies for mobile broadband. Looks like progress is being made.

Perhaps the most significant move by the commission was to allow a broad swath of airwaves to be used for outdoor unlicensed broadband, clearing the way for a new generation of Wi-Fi networks and other uses of freely available airwaves.

Unlike the airwaves used for mobile phone traffic, which are licensed to a specific company, unlicensed spectrum can be used by anyone. Previous establishments of unlicensed airwaves led to innovations like garage-door openers, baby monitors, wireless microphones and Wi-Fi networks.

“This will make it easier for all of us to consume a wide range of content on our mobile devices, most notably high-definition video, without frustrating lags or delays,” Mary L. Brown, director of technology and spectrum policy at Cisco Systems, said in a post on the company’s blog.

This is a band in the 5 GHz range, so it will take a little time for equipment to become widely available, but it is an excellent move that should be followed by other spectrum managers.

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