Proud to Be An American Wi-Fi Innovator
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We asked our panelists: Wi-Fi was born in the United States and the industry is generally dominated by American companies. How does future-looking spectrum policy account for American competitiveness here? What lessons can we take into the future?
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Kristian Stout, ICLE, Director of Innovation Policy:
U.S. politics is currently experiencing a populist moment. I would urge policymakers to critically examine the claims that are in vogue at the moment and think about the long-term trade and foreign policy effects if we saddle American innovators with unnecessary regulatory baggage.
Harold Feld, Public Knowledge, Senior Vice President:
Spectrum policy holds both positive and negative lessons here. The biggest lesson is: we need an innovative spectrum policy to maintain American wireless leadership.
Where America leads on spectrum, the world has followed. We developed flexible use and auctions first. We developed the concept of unlicensed access first. Each time we created an innovative spectrum policy, we launched a new American industry. Our entrepreneurial culture primes us to take advantage of new opportunities created by new spectrum policies at the FCC.
But we can lose that leadership. American companies once completely dominated the mobile telephony world. But the world caught up. Now American companies struggle against state-backed actors such as Huawei and ZTE. Another example where America lost its primacy is the TV white spaces. The United States invented the concept of using unassigned TV channels (“white spaces”) for unlicensed use, but the broadcast industry has consistently undermined this technology through the regulatory process. As a result, this technology is increasingly used and developed outside the United States.
U.S. industry is energized by innovation in spectrum policy. The CBRS “hybrid” service that combines elements of unlicensed and licensed technology is the latest example where an innovative spectrum policy (initially resisted, now embraced, by powerful incumbents) is launching a new, multibillion-dollar industry — with American companies at the forefront. Simply copying what we’ve done before is not good enough.
David Coleman, Extreme Networks — Director of Wireless, Office of the CTO:
We already know that Wi-Fi 6E will spur tremendous development and innovation for higher bandwidth applications. We are at the beginning of a renaissance of innovation for virtual reality and augmented reality applications that can be used via a Wi-Fi connection. As a direct result of future-looking spectrum policy for the 6 GHz spectrum, we are poised to see new methods of user engagement that we previously have only seen in science fiction movies.
Now it’s your turn: tweet us or email us with your take on spectrum policy to join this conversation. We might feature thoughtful submissions right here in a future piece