The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a significant move by unanimously agreeing to open the 6 GHz band for a new class of very low-power devices, including wearable technology. This decision is expected to pave the way for advancements in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) wearables, creating opportunities for innovative applications.
The FCC anticipates that opening the 6 GHz band will stimulate the development of cutting-edge applications, particularly in the realms of wearable technologies and AR/VR. The move is seen as a positive step toward building an ecosystem that enhances business capabilities, improves learning opportunities, advances healthcare options, and introduces new entertainment experiences.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, expressed enthusiasm for the FCC’s decision, considering it a crucial development for its vision of smart glasses. Meta’s vice president of North America policy, Kevin Martin, described the vote as an example of effective collaboration between a government regulator and industry, laying the groundwork for the future.
Google’s hardware group, Pixel, also welcomed the decision, stating that the 6 GHz band’s availability for high-speed peer-to-peer WiFi communication is a win for Pixel users and American consumers. The move enables greater functionality for devices like smart glasses even when users are outside their homes and away from strong Wi-Fi connections.
Apple, too, praised the FCC’s decision as a positive step forward. The tech giant sees the move as supporting the next-generation 5G ecosystem and creating opportunities for critical use cases, such as training for life-saving surgeries and assisting individuals with visual impairments.
In 2020, when the FCC sought comments on opening unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band, companies like Apple, Broadcom, Meta, and Google advocated for the proposal. They emphasized that allowing very low-power devices access to the 6 GHz band would enable more mobile applications for AR/VR tools, headphones, and game controllers, enhancing their utility beyond traditional indoor settings.
The FCC’s decision is expected to foster innovation in the AR/VR space, making these technologies more accessible and versatile for various use cases, including outdoor activities and immersive fan experiences.