Utilities ask FCC to delay opening of 6 GHz to protect public safety
A coalition of utility groups and other current occupants of the 6 GHz communications band filed a pair of petitions with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week to block an expected tidal wave of the new “6G” generation of consumer electronics from moving into their currently exclusive neighborhood.
The Edison Electric Institute and American Public Power Association were among a dozen associations that signed the official request for rulemaking submitted to the FCC along with an 11th-hour request for a stay of any pending approvals for a new generation of unlicensed 6G routers and other wireless devices that will generate a blizzard of electronic interference that will blind thousands of microwave links that currently operate on the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band and are used by utilities to monitor and maintain the electricity grid and other vital communications.
The wireless market currently has 5G on its cutting edge; the 5G stands for fifth generation wireless technology, which is also capable of operating on the 6 GHz band and is not to be confused with the 6G consumer products that will soon be ready for deployment.
“The public interest would be served by granting a temporary stay because doing so will protect against interference that threatens the safe, reliable, and secure delivery of essential services to the public provided by electric, gas and water utilities as well as by public safety, broadcast television, telecommunications, and broadband service providers,” said the request for the stay. “The time to act is now before these devices cause harmful interference to licensed microwave systems and before they become widely available on a commercial basis.”
The request for the temporary stay also included a call for the FCC to carry out a testing program to prove the claims made by 6G proponents that the new gear, often referred to as low-power indoor (LPI) devises, operate on low power levels that won’t interfere with the line-of-sight microwave links that utilities use to quickly detect outages and communicate with generation sources.