Multiple top-tier cable companies as well as several other tech firms have joined forces to help alleviate what they are calling the Wi-Fi spectrum crunch. The 18-member coalition, known as WiFiForward, is described as a group of like-minded companies, organizations and public sector institutions who believe that Wi-Fi is critical to the way we live and work today.
WiFiForward aims to protect and strengthen existing unlicensed spectrum designations, free up new spectrum for unlicensed use and establish transparent and predictable unlicensed rules that will encourage growth and deployment of Wi-Fi networks.
Partners include cable operators Charter Communications, Comcast and Time Warner Communications, tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Motorola and even Best Buy and the Consumer Electronics Association, the group responsible for organizing the annual Consumer Electronics Show each January in Las Vegas.
None of the four major wireless carriers in the US have joined WiFiForward. That isn’t surprising, really, as their participation would ultimately be seen as a conflict of interest. Despite the fact that some carriers have already set up public Wi-Fi hotspots, helping to create ubiquitous wireless access would no doubt mean that subscribers would be less likely to purchase larger buckets of data for their smartphones.
Cisco believes that Wi-Fi devices will likely account for most of the world’s Internet traffic by 2017 and with more and more smartphones, tablets and connected appliances going online each day, congestion could very well be a real concern.