New Coalition Calls for More Wi-­Fi to Boost U.S. Economy

WifiForward releases economic analysis outlining $222 billion in value added to the U.S. economy as a result of innovation unleashed by unlicensed spectrum.

A coalition of companies, organizations and public sector institutions today announced the launch of a new organization, WifiForward, which is calling for policymakers to unleash unlicensed spectrum for Wi-­‐Fi and other uses, enabling economic growth, creating new jobs and spurring innovation nationwide.

Members include the American Library Association, Best Buy, the ARRIS Group, Comcast, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Google, the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Time Warner Cable and Microsoft, among others.

In the United States, more Internet traffic is carried over Wi-­Fi than any other path. Wi-­Fi runs on unlicensed spectrum, parts of the radio frequencies that anyone can use as long as the technical rules established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are followed.

Recent analyses indicate that Wi-­Fi in our homes, businesses, schools and libraries is becoming congested by a deluge of data from more devices, applications and services connecting to the Internet without wires.

Indeed, Cisco predicts that by 2017, Wi-Fi will handle a majority of all data consumers’ access from the Internet.

There are upcoming opportunities for the FCC to make more of this vital resource available: in an auction of TV spectrum, in a proceeding to open the 3.5 GHz spectrum for wireless broadband, and in an ongoing proceeding in the 5 GHz band.

Also today, WifiForward released a new economic study that finds unlicensed spectrum generated $222 billion in value to the U.S. economy in 2013 and contributed $6.7 billion to U.S. GDP. The new study provides three general conclusions about the impact of unlicensed spectrum, detailing the ways in which it makes wireline broadband and cellular networks more effective, serves as a platform for innovative services and new technologies, and expands consumer choice.

The WifiForward coalition will marshal support to: 1) protect and strengthen existing unlicensed spectrum designations; 2) free up new spectrum for unlicensed use at a variety of frequencies, including low, medium, and high frequency bands; and 3) establish investment-­‐friendly, transparent and predictable unlicensed rules that encourage growth and deployment.

Source: WiFiForward