WASHINGTON Jan 9 Telecommunications regulators
are planning a push to increase wi-fi speed in airports,
convention centers and other major hubs where travelers often
see download speeds slow to a maddening crawl.
Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a
speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on
Wednesday that the agency planned to free up unlicensed spectrum
in the 5 gigahertz band in order to improve wi-fi service both
in terms of speed and capacity.
It would be the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be
made available for expansion of wi-fi since 2003, the FCC said.
"As this spectrum comes on line, we expect it to relieve
congested Wi-Fi networks at major hubs like convention centers
and airports," said Genachowski, according to a statement from
"It will also help in homes as tablets and smartphones
proliferate and video use rises," he added. Improved HD video
distribution capability will be among the benefits.
Genachowski said that the first steps to free up the
spectrum would be taken in February.