6 GHz Wi-Fi Coordination Systems, Tribal Data Partnership, Free Speech on Twitter

November 3, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission has approved 13 spectrum coordination systems that will allow for the testing of unlicensed devices on the 6 GHz band to limit interference.

In April 2020, the FCC approved the opening of the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses, including the next generation Wi-Fi 6E to allow for greater speeds and coverage. More Americans during the pandemic were using Wi-Fi at home, which created constraints on the network.

On Thursday, the agency approved the mechanism for which to test a slice of the 6 GHz band for unlicensed devices, including approving 13 proposed automated frequency coordination database systems from companies Broadcom, Google, Comsearch, Sony Group, Kyrio, Key Bridge Wireless, Nokia Innovations, Federated Wireless, Wireless Broadband Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance, Qualcomm, Plume Design, and RED Technologies.

During this public trial phase, each company is required to make its system available for a specific period of time to provide an opportunity for the public to test their system’s functionality, the FCC said in a press release.

“American businesses and households rely on Wi-Fi for work, school, access to healthcare, and connecting with friends and family,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “We are moving forward on our plan to open doors for next generation, faster, better Wi-Fi – including Wi-Fi 6 E and laying the groundwork for Wi-Fi 7.  This is good news and real progress” she said in the release.

This summer, the National Spectrum Management Association said it was concerned that the FCC opening of the 6 GHz band to unlicensed use – which held off a legal challenge – by a possible one billion portable devices was done without proper testing.

Broadband.Money and Tribal Communications partner on speed test data

Indigenous American internet service provider Tribal Communications, in partnership with broadband funding platform Broadband.Money announced Wednesday the launch of a broadband toolkit to quantify the digital divide in tribal nations.

The FCC is creating a new broadband map of served and underserved areas, which is anticipated for release this month. Some of the data collected to create this map is provided by incumbent internet service providers, which critics have said have been known to misrepresent service availability in areas they allege to have coverage, including in tribal nations.

To accurately account the digital divide in tribal nations, the Tribal Community Broadband Kit will allow tribal entities to establish their own empirical connectivity data, according to the press release.

“While there are limited options to challenging the FCC on this issue, I believe the best course of action for Indian Country is to focus on creating data and guidelines to help states design fair and inclusive challenge processes. This would include speed testing at its core,” Joseph Valandra, senior vice president of Tribal Communications, said in the release.

Broadband.Money, a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast, developed a Tribal broadband community on its platform to share information and resources among industry and community leaders.

“Reliable broadband access can be transformative for Indian Country,” Jase Wilson, CEO of Broadband.Money’s parent company Ready.net, said in the release. “We’re excited to launch the Tribal Community Toolkit to help tribes create the empirical data that will help them win their fair share of broadband resources.”

Edyael Casaperalta, senior policy advisor in the Agriculture department’s Rural Utilities Service, recommended in March that service providers looking to build on tribal lands should develop a positive relationship with that tribal government.

Conservative think tank says more speech better to tackle misinformation

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter last week and promise to restore speech on the platform has ignited criticism that the billionaire would bring on voices that would stoke mis- and disinformation, but an opinion by a neoconservative think tank says more speech is better to tackle the problem.

“Musk’s critics appear to be afraid that his Twitter will allow others to have freedom of speech. Actually, the critics should embrace such freedom, as it is necessary for fighting the very abuses the critics claim to abhor, identifying truth, and developing strong minds and a robust society,” said the Thursday op-ed by Mark Jamison, nonresident senior fellow at the think tank, which holds a strong free speech position.

The op-ed cites a study that found “exposure to misinformation prompts internet users to conduct their own investigations, which, if true, should make them less vulnerable to fallacies.”

Musk, who fired Twitter’s top executives and the board of directors following the takeover, said on Twitter: “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”