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News Release

IEEE-USA Petitions FCC for Spectrum Ruling to Spur New Technologies

WASHINGTON (1 July 2013) — IEEE-USA, in a petition filed today with Federal Communications Commission, is asking the federal government to classify frequency spectrum above 95 GHz “a new technology or service.”

Such a declaratory ruling, according to IEEE-USA, would spur capital investment and lead to long-term commercial opportunities. A similar ruling 28 years ago led to the development of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11), a wireless technology that has transformed the way we live, work and communicate.

“The rules that led to Wi-Fi were adopted in 1985, and it took to about 2000 for Wi-Fi to hit the market,” said Mike Marcus, chair of the IEEE-USA Committee on Communications Policy. “We’re asking the FCC to set the stage for technology development that could have a big impact on the economy.”

No FCC service rules above 95 GHz leads to regulatory uncertainty and hesitancy on the part of venture capitalists and angel investors to invest in new technologies at that frequency spectrum.
This deprives the public and private sectors of the potential benefits of innovative technologies.

“When you remove prohibitions to new technology, interesting things happen,” Marcus said. “In radio regulation, there were anachronistic limits that made sense 30 years ago that don’t make sense today. We are urging the FCC to start removing those barriers to innovation.”

Marcus added that a positive ruling from the FCC would help U.S. wireless companies compete with international firms that have access to government funding. The petition cites a Singapore government-financed research laboratory announcement that its 135 GHz antenna technology can support wireless speeds more than three times faster than the fastest Wi-Fi today.

“Many foreign companies have near-zero risk because they work hand-in-glove with their government,” he said. “So when they develop a product, they know they get market access and they know their government will support them on the international stage. In the United States, companies that deal in this don’t work hand-in-glove with the U.S. government.

“We think our system is better, but unless all parts of it work together and get rid of barriers, we won’t get investment in the technology, and foreign competitors will take the lead and reap the benefits.”

IEEE-USA’s petition is available at

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 206,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.

Contact: Chris McManes
IEEE-USA Public Relations Manager
Phone: 202 530 8356


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