FCC Reasserts Meaning of “Unregulated Spectrum”

“Unregulated” + “federal preemption” = “you can’t regulate it either!” FCC shoots down Logan Airport’s ban on independent WiFi servicespdf

A two-year effort by Logan International Airport officials to shut down private alternatives to the airport’s $8-a-day wireless Internet service was decisively rejected yesterday by federal regulators, who blasted airport officials for raising bogus legal and technological arguments.

The FCC ruling; Copps statement; Adelstein’s statement

Copps’ statement includes the following:

Today’s declaratory ruling reaffirms the Commission’s dedication to promoting the widespread deployment of unlicensed Wi-Fi devices. It clarifies that American consumers and businesses are free to install Wi-Fi antennas under our OTARD rules – meaning without seeking approval from their landlords – just as they are free to install antennas for video programming and other fixed wireless applications.

Wi-Fi is one of the Commission’s greatest wireless success stories. The genius of this unlicensed technology is that no central authority controls or manages how and where these networks spring up. Instead, any private or commercial operator who sees a need for a local Wi-Fi network may build and operate one. The price that Wi-Fi users pay for this freedom is that they, like all Part 15 users, must accept interference from other devices in the unlicensed bands. But the nation’s half-decade of experience with this new technology has made it quite plain that this trade-off is more than worth it. When it comes to providing broadband over the unlicensed bands, the airwaves are truly the people’s airwaves. So while I certainly support strong licensing regulation in some contexts, I think it is equally important that we leave other portions of the spectrum open to unlicensed uses.