World Wi-Fi Day – Brought to You by Unlicensed Spectrum

June 20, 2016

Written by Shawn Chang, EVOLVE Coalition Spokesperson

Today marks the first ever World Wi-Fi Day. This new initiative is a day for governments, industry, and the public to come together to advance and accelerate affordable connectivity for the unconnected around the world.

But did you know that unlicensed spectrum is the driving force behind Wi-Fi? From Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to wearables and smart devices, wireless products that run on unlicensed spectrum make our lives easier every single day.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to apply a hands-off regulatory approach to unlicensed spectrum policy over the past three decades is what makes a celebration like today possible. By making unlicensed spectrum available for everyone – using any technology – while lowing barriers to entry, innovators everywhere can all take part in World Wi-Fi Day and continue to research, experiment, and create under the unlicensed platform.

The role of unlicensed spectrum in wireless innovation is also why EVOLVE’s members are committed to preserving and expanding this successful open platform so that new technologies in unlicensed spectrum, like LTE unlicensed, can develop and bring even more benefits to mobile consumers everywhere.

Advocates for LTE unlicensed are advocates for Wi-Fi too. EVOLVE’s members firmly believe that successful co-existence is the golden rule for unlicensed technologies. As such, LTE unlicensed was carefully designed to ensure co-existence, and testing has even shown it has the ability to make Wi-Fi more efficient. To alleviate any remaining concerns, our members are actively engaged with the Wi-Fi community to conduct joint testing, and we expect a workable co-existence test plan that will showcase just that in August.

Simply put, we are unequivocal in our stance that technologies operating in unlicensed bands need to co-exist with and work cooperatively with Wi-Fi – and vice versa. Our members support Wi-Fi and are working hard to make it even better. But we also want consumers to have new choices for products and services to ensure the best possible mobile experience.

So as we celebrate Wi-Fi today, let’s remember that unfettered access to and innovation in unlicensed spectrum is what brought us Wi-Fi and is what will drive many more exciting new technologies to celebrate in the future.