FCC prevails in 6 GHz court challenge led by AT&T

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The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the Federal Communications Commission in its decision to designate a large swath of the 6 GHz band to unlicensed users, including Wi-Fi. AT&T had challenged the FCC’s decision, saying it posed potential interference with existing fixed microwave users. “Petitioners have failed to provide a basis for questioning the Commission’s conclusion that the Order will protect against a significant risk of harmful interference,” the court wrote in its December 28 decision. “We therefore deny the petitions for review in all respects save one.” The exception relates to the petition brought by licensed radio and television broadcasters using the 6 GHz band. Because the FCC failed to respond to their request that it reserve a sliver of that band exclusively for mobile licensees, the court wants the agency to provide further explanation on that point – one that backers of the FCC think they can easily address.

“Today’s decision is an important step in clearing the way for next generation Wi-Fi access at a time when it is needed most," said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel following the ruling. "In this pandemic so much of modern life has migrated online. 6 GHz Wi-Fi will help us address this challenge by offering more access in more places, faster speeds, and better performance from our Wi-Fi networks.” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the court’s decision underscores the FCC’s role as the nation’s lead spectrum regulator. "US leadership in wireless depends on stakeholders continuing to abide by Congress’s long-standing decision to place these determinations squarely within the FCC’s expertise,” Carr stated.

FCC prevails in 6 GHz court challenge led by AT&T Chairwoman Rosenworcel on Court Victory in DC Circuit Carr Welcomes FCC's Mid-Band Spectrum Win