Public Knowledge Applauds D.C. Circuit Court Ruling Affirming FCC Rules for Gigabit Wi-Fi

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals largely affirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s April 2020 Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking creating the rules for Wi-Fi 6e, the first gigabit capacity Wi-Fi available in the United States, in the case, AT&T Services, Inc. v FCC.

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals largely affirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s April 2020 Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking creating the rules for Wi-Fi 6e, the first gigabit capacity Wi-Fi available in the United States, in the case, AT&T Services, Inc. v FCC. Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief in support of the FCC, explaining to the court the importance of gigabit Wi-Fi to the public and the successful history of the FCC expanding unlicensed spectrum access without causing harmful interference.

Opening the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use enables the deployment of next-generation Wi-Fi, called Wi-Fi 6e, as well as other important services necessary for deploying 5G – making the next generation of wireless technology available for all Americans no matter where they live.

The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:

“Everyone should recognize the importance of working Wi-Fi in our lives after two years of COVID-19. The FCC’s 2020 Order opening the 6 GHz band made much-needed new unlicensed spectrum available for telemedicine; streaming for education, work or entertainment; and thousands of other uses. Today, the D.C. Circuit reaffirmed that it will not second-guess the technical expertise of the FCC when the agency balances the needs of both legacy licensed users and new innovations in Wi-Fi.

“Because the FCC failed to address an argument raised by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the court remanded the decision to the FCC to address this one outstanding argument. The court explicitly denied the NAB’s request to vacate the Order or otherwise interfere with Wi-Fi 6e equipment certification and deployment. We are confident the FCC can address this remaining argument easily, and that the public will continue to benefit from expanded Wi-Fi use in the 6 GHz band.”

You may view our amicus brief for more details on why Public Knowledge strongly supports the FCC’s action to make the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use. You may also view our latest blog post, “Why Auctioning the 6 GHz Band Would be Phenomenally Bad Policy If you Want Wi-Fi 6 and 5G,” to learn why the 6 GHz band is so vital for the future of Wi-Fi.