Cable companies and tech firms like Microsoft share a common goal
A coalition of cable companies and well known technology firms has been formed to address the "Wi-Fi spectrum crunch" and to lobby Washington to free up unlicensed spectrum. The coaltion is called WifiForward and it includes cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable (which Comcast is trying to acquire), and Charter Communications, along with technology firms like Microsoft, Google, and Broadcom.
WifiForward is currently 18 members strong, through there are some noticeable omissions, such as every single major wireless carrier in the U.S. (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile). While some wireless carriers have built up Wi-Fi hotspots in certain areas to alleviate congestion, ubiquitous Wi-Fi access would ultimately prevent smartphone owners from ponying up to more expensive data plans.
The coalition's goal is to free up more airwaves for Wi-Fi using unlicensed spectrum bands. It describes itself as a "group of like-minded companies, organizations, and public sector institutions who belive that Wi-Fi is critical to the way we live and work today."
WifiForward brings up the emerging "Internet of Things" as one reason why this is a pressing issue. Indeed, Cisco predicts that Wi-Fi devices will account for the majority of Internet traffic by 2017. WifiForward says that kind of growth could mean that getting on the Internet via Wi-Fi could "soon be like trying to drive in rush hour traffic on too narrow a road."