Appeals Court Denies Utility, Electric Request to Stay FCC 6 GHz Order

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A federal appeals court won’t block the FCC’s plan to open the already occupied 6 GHz band up to unlicensed wireless services. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Thursday that opponents haven’t satisfied the “stringent requirements” to stay the order pending court review.

Utilities and public safety groups, including the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, sought an emergency stay; they told the court the FCC ignored important evidence about harmful interference.

In a tweet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the decision, “Great news for consumers, who stand to benefit from super-fast” WiFi services “in the home, and on the go!”

The Edison Electric Institute and APCO first asked the FCC to stay the 6 GHz order earlier this year, Inside Towers reported. The Commission rejected the request in August, saying over two and a half years, it sought input from broadcasters, wireless internet service providers, cable operators, content distributors, public safety entities, utilities, and other stakeholders.

The agency reiterated that demand for wireless spectrum continues to grow. That’s why it evaluated whether spectrum between 3.7 and 24 GHz could be made available for wireless broadband services, including unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz). The 6 GHz band is particularly attractive for unlicensed operations, the Commission noted, because it is near spectrum designated for U-NII use and could, among other things, allow those devices to operate with wider channel bandwidths and higher data rates with increased flexibility.    

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