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FCC proposes more unlicensed spectrum for wireless broadband

WASHINGTON-Federal regulators today proposed setting aside more unlicensed spectrum for wireless broadband operations, which could make it easier for vendors to build devices that work across all Wi-Fi frequencies and create new wireless Internet opportunities in rural America.

The initiative, launched today by the Federal Communications Commission, would reserve 50 megahertz in the 3.6 GHz band for unlicensed wireless Internet operations. The proposal would allow transmissions at power levels higher than currently permitted for Part 15 unlicensed devices.

About 100 satellite earth stations-mostly located on the East and West Coasts-are licensed in the 3650 MHz band. The FCC said wireless Internet service providers could use cognitive technology to safeguard against harmful interference to fixed satellite links.

Edmond Thomas, chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, said manufacturers have indicated that with unlicensed frequencies already residing above (5 GHz) and below (2.4 GHz) the 3.6 GHz band, they can develop universal Wi-Fi products that work on all three frequency bands.

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