Microsoft Applauds FCC’s Prompt Allocation of Spectrum for Wireless LANs

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 13, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. voiced strong support for today’s Federal Communications Commission decision to allocate and establish usage rules for segments of the 5GHz spectrum that can be used for wireless broadband technologies. The FCC action implements recommendations announced earlier this year by the International Telecommunication Union’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in Geneva.

The WRC’s July recommendation allocated two large bands of spectrum within the 5GHz range — 5.15–5.35 GHz and 5.47–5.725 GHz — for wireless applications. The WRC decision, while not binding, serves as a guideline for individual nations to implement matching spectrum allocations for their own markets. The FCC is the first regulatory agency worldwide to adopt the WRC framework.

“We commend the FCC for its prompt adoption of new rules for the 5GHz spectrum,” said Craig Mundie, senior vice president and CTO of advanced strategies and policy at Microsoft. “Coming only four months after the World Radiocommunication Conference harmonized this spectrum globally, the FCC’s action reflects the potential for Wi-Fi and other radio LAN technologies to deliver broadband communications in geographies where broadband is currently unavailable, and will encourage the development of ever-more innovative products and services for businesses and consumers.”

Mundie added that the FCC’s rules have the added benefit of helping ensure that new radio technology will be able to use the 5GHz spectrum efficiently while avoiding interference with existing users of the spectrum, such as radar operators. Moreover, by making this spectrum available on an unlicensed basis, the FCC has ensured a continual flow of innovative, low-power and interference-resistant broadband technologies such as Wi-Fi. “Everyone wins in this decision,” Mundie said. “Existing government users, consumers, hardware and software companies, and service providers.”

The U.S. government and industry leaders worked very closely with each other earlier in the year, and later with worldwide regulators, to establish a consensus on the global allocation of 5GHz spectrum, and those collective efforts made it possible for the FCC to move very quickly in adopting its framework for the United States, Mundie added. “The pace of innovation around wireless broadband communications is very fast, and it’s very gratifying to see a swift response from the FCC.”

The IT community as a whole supports global harmonization of the 5GHz spectrum and use of it for unlicensed broadband applications. A white paper on the topic from the Information Technology Industry Council can be found at .

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