Expanding the Unlicensed Economy

Why More Unlicensed Spectrum Access Is Key to Affordable Wireless Connectivity

Microsoft and New America’s Wireless Future Project
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM EST

Wi-Fi has proven to be the workhorse of broadband Internet access. It enables America’s growing cloud economy, carrying over 50 percent of all Internet traffic. Surging wireless data traffic from streaming video, the Internet of Things, and virtual and augmented reality applications is increasing congestion in existing unlicensed bands and driving the demand for more low-, mid- and high-band frequencies that are necessary for Wi-Fi, rural broadband and unlicensed innovation to flourish.

In anticipation of this demand, stakeholders are urging the FCC to move quickly to allocate more unlicensed spectrum in the low frequencies so critical for coverage (TV White Spaces); in mid-band spectrum critical for gigabit Wi-Fi and high-capacity “wireless fiber” (the 3 and 6 GHz bands); and in high-frequency, millimeter wave bands (e.g., 60 GHz).

Continuing the current trend toward ubiquitous, fast and affordable connectivity in a ‘5G’ world will depend on this expanded and diverse ecosystem of shared, unlicensed spectrum access.

Our panelists include social media, rural broadband and cloud service companies. In addition, Edgar Figueroa will present the Wi-Fi Alliance study projecting the need for more unlicensed access and Paul Garnett will provide an update on Microsoft’s Affordable Access TV white spaces projects.

Please join Microsoft and New America’s Wireless Future Project for this luncheon and panel discussion about the role and value of a diverse unlicensed ecosystem – and what it means for consumers, emerging technologies, and service providers.

Edgar Figueroa
President & CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance

Paul Garnett
Senior Director, Technology & Civic Engagement, Microsoft Corp.

Paula Boyd
Senior Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft Corp.

Mark Radabaugh
FCC Committee Chair, WISPA, and Director, Amplex

Chris Szymanski
Director of Product Marketing and Government Affairs, Broadcom

Alan Norman
Public Policy Director, Facebook

Michael Calabrese
Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute

Follow the conversation online using #UnlicensedEconomy and following @MicrosoftIPC and @OTI

Lunch will be served.

This event has been planned to comply with the requirements of the Legislative Branch gift rules. Executive Branch personnel wishing to attend should consult with their designated Agency Ethics Office.

New America is dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. Our hallmarks are big ideas, impartial analysis, pragmatic policy solutions, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences.