Appeals Court Denies Petitions for Review of Unlicensed Use of 6 GHz
Friday, December 31, 2021 | Comments
An appeals court rejected petitions for review from multiple organizations asking that the FCC’s rules allowing unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band be remanded back to the FCC for reconsideration.

In April 2020, the FCC adopted rules allowing for unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band, leading to backlash from public safety and critical infrastructure groups who argued that such use could lead to harmful interference to key critical communications systems.

In January 2021, multiple public-safety, industry and critical infrastructure groups filed petitions for review with the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to remand the rules back to the FCC for reconsideration. The court later combined all of those petitions into one petition.

All of the petitioners on the consolidated suit were the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), AT&T Services, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the American Public Power Association (APPA) and CenturyLink.

Aside from one individual claim from the NAB, the appeals court rejected all of the claims from the organizations and rejected their request to remand the issue back to the FCC.

“To demonstrate that a regulation is arbitrary and capricious, a challenger must show that the agency ‘relied on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider, entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence before the agency or is so implausible that it could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the product of agency expertise,” the court’s order said.

The court ruled that the petitioners had not demonstrated that the FCC’s rules fell into any of those categories and determined that the FCC followed a sound process in implementing the rules.

“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,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “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. It will also help us in our mission to connect everyone, everywhere. That’s good for consumers, for broadband deployment and for the nation’s wireless economy.”

APCO expressed disappointment in the court’s decision.

“While federal review courts typically accord the FCC deference, we are of course disappointed because we remain concerned that new unlicensed devices will cause harmful interference to public safety communications,” the group said in a statement. “APCO will consider its additional options in court and continue to actively work directly with the FCC to ensure that public safety operations are protected.”

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Comments
On 1/5/22, Barry Driver said:
This could be the new political trend at pushing all future First Response Systems onto FirstNet Commercial ATT Band 14. What microwave band is
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