FCC's Leadership Opens 5.9 GHz Band to Commercial Use

The following statement may be attributed to Louis Peraertz, VP of Policy for WISPA:
Washington, DC, November 18, 2020 – The FCC took a leadership role today in opening up the underutilized 5.9 GHz band for shared, unlicensed commercial use.  It has been largely offline for nearly two decades, denying Americans tremendous value and consumer welfare.  Wireless technology and industry best practices mean it can be shared safely and beneficially with the auto industry, and the FCC has taken the well-reasoned position to do so.  We applaud all of the Commissioners for working hard towards a consensus that allows this item to move forward.
Since March, dozens of WISPA members took the Commission up on its offer to use 45-megahertz of 5.9 GHz spectrum on an unlicensed basis via Special Temporary Authority.   These temporary grants of authority enabled many of our members to quickly and effectively meet increased capacity demands brought about by the onset of COVID-19.  They are potent case studies that show how the band can be used to keep us safe and connected through outdoor, Point-to-Multipoint connectivity.         
Today’s Order will immediately allow widespread indoor use of the lower 45-megahertz of the band.  The pending FNPRM tees up permanent use for WISPs to use the 45-megahertz outdoors.  We look forward to working with all stakeholders during the FNPRM process to maximize the band for broadband consumers who need this unlicensed spectrum to stay connected during the pandemic, and to promote an efficient transition of automotive safety communications to the upper portion of the band.   
WISPA’s 1000 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the industry that supports fixed wireless broadband, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members, and WISPs, in general, provide broadband access to over 6 million residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.

Mike Wendy