The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made a significant announcement, stating that it is now permitting a new class of very low power devices (VLP) to operate in the 6 GHz band. This decision includes granting approval to tech giants Google, Apple, and Meta Platforms. These companies can now deploy a range of mobile augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) devices, including goggles and in-car connections, according to a Bloomberg News report.
This move by the FCC is set to have a transformative impact on the technology industry. The new regulations will enable the development of cutting-edge applications in wearable technologies, augmented and virtual reality, as well as improve learning opportunities, healthcare advancements, and entertainment experiences. The FCC believes that these rules will create a thriving ecosystem of innovative solutions.
Apple, Meta, and Google are all currently working on their own AR eyeglasses, and they may utilize the 6 GHz band to establish connectivity with smartphones. Additionally, these devices could be used for exchanging navigation data between smartphones and vehicles, as indicated in the report.
While the FCC has opened the 6 GHz band to VLP devices, these devices will operate alongside other WiFi-enabled devices. One important note is that the new rules impose significant limitations on power levels for these devices and require adherence to technical and operational requirements. This ensures that the VLP devices can coexist with incumbent licensed services operating in the 6 GHz band.
The approved VLP operations will be allowed in the U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 portions of the 6 GHz band. This grants a total of 850 megahertz of spectrum for these operations. The FCC states that these VLP devices can operate at lower power levels compared to existing unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band, and they can be used indoors or outdoors without the need for a frequency coordination system. Furthermore, the FCC has proposed extending the operation of VLP devices into the remaining portion of the 6 GHz band, subject to certain restrictions being in place.
Impact on Apple, Alphabet, and Meta
This significant development has implications for industry giants Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Meta Platforms. These companies are at the forefront of AR/VR technology and have been eagerly awaiting FCC approval to bring their innovative products to market. With this regulatory milestone, they can now move forward with their plans to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and immerse ourselves in digital experiences.