The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved seven companies’ automated frequency coordination systems to operate in the 6GHz band under its unlicenced spectrum rules, a move it predicted would spur widespread deployments.

Applications from Qualcomm, Federated Wireless, Sony, Comsearch, the Wi-Fi Alliance, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and Broadcom were approved by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, enabling their systems to begin managing access to the spectrum by Wi-Fi devices.

The FCC spent four years developing a plan for its automated frequency coordination (AFC) system, which included laboratory and public trials by the seven companies.

AFC enables the use of standard power by Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 access points, among other devices.

It also safeguards incumbent operations currently using the spectrum, including point-to-point mobile operator links and fixed wireless access deployments.

The WBA explained AFC will automatically allocate the power and strength a device can use in real time based on requests made to a centralised database which provides information on the available channels and other operators that are nearby.

It also ensures compliance with the rules set by regulators to enable independent allocation of spectrum use.

FCC chief engineer Ron Repasi stated the approvals “mark a major milestone for widespread deployment of unlicensed operations in the 6GHz spectrum band and for the unlicensed ecosystem overall”.

He also noted 6GHz standard power and fixed client device deployments under AFC control will expand access to new technology, applications and services. 

“This is an exciting time for the industry, and for American consumers and business.”