High-frequency wireless technology gets FCC go-ahead

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday adopted service rules for the commercial use of a wireless technology that uses high-frequency spectrum bands to deliver large amounts of data at high speeds.

The point-to-point technology, developed by Loea Communications Corp. of Lihue, Hawaii, got the nod by the FCC to operate commercially in the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, and 92-95 GHz bands, the FCC said in a statement.

The spectrum bands, originally open only for use by the U.S. government, are to be offered for both federal and commercial use on a non-exclusive basis.

Loea, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Trex Enterprises Corp., first petitioned the FCC in September 2001 for the right to use the high-frequency spectrum for its technology.

Companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have backed the Millimeter Wave (also referred to as Upper Millimeter Wave) bands for broadband service as a type of wireless "last mile," a way of connecting users to public fiber-optic networks without having to use cables.

The system, also promoted by Loea as virtual fiber technology, uses millimeter-wave transceivers to send "pencil beams" of data at gigabit speeds.

By making the technology available for commercial use, the FCC said it hopes to encourage the development and promotion of new broadband products and services that can compete against more traditional high-speed Internet service offerings.

"The highly advanced technology used here may encourage a broad range of new products and services, such as high-speed wireless local area networks and broadband access systems for the Internet," FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a separate statement.

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