Read the text of the Sirius petition (in PDF form): a kind reader forwarded this 1 Mb PDF file which contains the entire petition. (It's a PDF of a scan, so you cannot get a text conversion at the moment.)
Some background: Sirius is a U.S. satellite digital radio provider which is using the 2.3 GHZ band (licensed) to broadcast continuous satellite signals that can be received by in-car players (currently). The service has a monthly fee attached and offers hundreds of channels.
Sirius's petition to the FCC is essentially asking them to more explicitly enforce an out-of-band provision which wasn't specifically included in the Part 15 and Part 18 rules that apply to devices using unlicensed spectrum, including the 2.4 GHz band that Wi-Fi, 802.11g, Bluetooth, and HomeRF use.
Sirius's point, which is valid, is that extremely low-strength signals that appear as mere background radiation from a legal and proper 2.400-2.485 GHz device could, in fact, seriously disrupt their service in areas where these devices abound.
When I say their point is valid, I mean that from their perspective, they've raised and spent billions on what has already turned out to be technology that's behind the times. The fact that their equipment cannot deal with the level of signal interference that they're discussing means that they misjudged the technological marketplace in which they designed and launched satellites.
They're essentially doomed regardless of whether they get this rule change forced through. If the rule change is forced through, they not only will cause massive inconvenience, the implosion of a multi-billion dollar market for WLAN products, the shutdown of existing services, wireless ISPs, and manufacturers, but essentially take back from Americans frequencies that were promised them.
Their argument is that as licensed spectrumholders, they are to be protected from unlicensed uses that encroach on their turf. They haven't proved a specific problem, in fact, but merely demonstrated that such a problem could happen, and, if so, would destroy their service offering.
So if their rule change is adopted, Wi-Fi is doomed short-term, because, ostensibly, all existing and new 2.4 GHz devices would need to be upgraded or taken out of service. Can the FCC enforce this uniformly? Of course not. But it would affect public space Wi-Fi in a big way.
I say that Sirius is doomed if the rule change isn't adopted, but I mean, rather, that they have to adapt and they appear technically limited, or are trying to maintain they are. Instead of working to upgrade their oversensitive equipment and work on algorithms that would defeat the out-of-band problem, they are asking everyone else to change. They have the right, unfortunately, to ask this.
Let's raise a ruckus. Time to contact the FCC and offer some public feedback. Time to call and write Agere, 3Com, Linksys, D-Link, Cisco, Apple, Buffalo, SMC, Asante, Proxim, and others and alert them to this issue and get them to have their lobbyists go to work. Time to remind the Bush administration of the freedom of the marketplace, and that spectrumholders hold spectrum only at the sufferance of the public good. Time to call the IT department at your company and have them write letters to your congressmen. Alert your CEO. Call IBM and tell them that their hundreds of millions in savings (internally) and revenue (through IBM Global Services) is about to go kerblooey.
Let's take a stand on spectrum.