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FCC promises more high-speed Wi-Fi soon

Getting delayed at an airport may be less of a headache in the future if you are traveling with a smartphone, laptop or tablet computer.

The Federal Communications Commission said it is increasing by 35% the availability of high-speed wireless Internet at airports, convention centers and conference hubs.

Internet users will be able to access faster Wi-Fi, and that means more portable devices will be able to stream high-definition movies and television.

The effort was announced by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He said the FCC will take the first steps in February to release up to 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5-gigahertz band. He called it the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be released for Wi-Fi use since 2003.

“As this spectrum comes online, we expect it to relieve congested Wi-Fi networks at major hubs like convention centers and airports,” he said.

The one possible glitch is that the 5-gigahertz band is already in use, predominantly by federal agencies, and must be reallocated for the public. But Genachowski said the FCC plans to act quickly.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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