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WiFi and LTE agree to move ahead without regulation

A ‘minor miracle’ occurred recently when the Wifi Alliance announced a testing plan for coexistence between WiFi and LTE over unlicensed spectrum, writes Roslyn Layton in Forbes. “The episode illustrates that competing parties can find a mutual agreement without litigation or regulation, even in instances of sharing fiercely loved resources such as unlicensed spectrum. The story also proves that the FCC doesn’t need to engage in formal rulemaking to get parties to play nice together.” The issue over unlicensed spectrum emerged over a year ago when wireless carriers requested the possibility to offload data from devices to terrestrial networks via unlicensed spectrum. The WiFi community, including large players such as Google and the cable industry, felt threatened that an influx of data would crowd out their free use of the unlicensed spectrum commons (which incidentally they enjoy today without paying a fee, unlike carriers which spend billions of dollars to purchase spectrum). “The root of the problem, of course, is scarce spectrum and the government’s glacial pace to make more available.
There was rancorous debate which could have devolved into a tragedy of the commons, but the parties sat down and worked it out. To be sure, parties which are not regulated by the FCC today and wanting to avoid coming under the regulatory thumb were ready to negotiate. While neither side got exactly what it wanted, both are both better off, and are moving forward toward coexistence with a minimum of FCC oversight.” Read more

  • Thursday, 03 November 2016

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