The Future of Wi-Fi Spectrum


Eine Veranstaltung der mabb

Keynote 17.15 – 17.30
The importance of Wi-Fi for the use of audio-visual media
The ubiquitous availability of Internet media content is taken for granted by an increasing number of people today. Access to this media content takes place to a large extent over mobile devices. In this regard, the extensive offers available to mobile Internet users are both a blessing and a curse: While users can access on-demand platforms independently of time and place, the data-volume limits placed on their mobile networks do not lend themselves to unlimited consumption of content on mobile devices. For high-quality streams from YouTube, Netflix, Tagesschau and their peers, a fast Internet connection without volume limits is a must.
This is where Wi-Fi comes into play: The ubiquitous availability of this technology – both in and outside the home – will significantly change the use of media content. Steffen Meyer-Tippach offers an overview of the expansion of Wi-Fi in Germany, and explores its impact on media consumption.


Steffen Meyer-Tippach, Radio und Digital Projects Specialist, Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg (mabb)

Speech 17.30 – 17.45
The Future Role of Wi-Fi Spectrum
Wi-Fi already has an impressive track record. If the unlicensed frequencies around 2.4 GHz and 5GHz were referred to in the past as junk frequencies, with no applications envisioned other than the use of microwave ovens, they are today an important cornerstone of the digital society, and a worldwide transmission standard for mobile Internet use. In the future, Wi-Fi will be used beyond routers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. With the development of new applications for digital technologies, Wi-Fi will play a critical role – whether in smart grids, mobile-payment systems, or sensor networks, connectivity will primarily be provided over Wi-Fi networks.
Yet Wi-Fi’s success is unusual. It continues to utilise frequencies that can’t readily cover long distances or penetrate obstacles. Worldwide efforts are thus under way to develop Wi-Fi technologies further, and use them in other portions of the spectrum in the context of an efficient spectrum-management strategy.
Dr. Ben Scott explores the potential offered by future Wi-Fi applications, and provides an overview of current trends.


Dr. Ben Scott, CEO stiftung neue verantwortung

Falk Steiner, Independent Journalist

Public Wi-Fi networks torn between politics, economics and the law 17.45 – 18.15
Breach of duty of care (Störerhaftung) has for years been the Achilles heel of Net policymakers and a bone of contention between users, copyright holders, and economic actors. In the current coalition agreement and the coalition’s Digital Agenda, the German federal government has announced that it plans to revise existing breach-of-duty-of-care regulations, and thus promote the expansion of FREE WI-FI in Germany. However, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs draft bill on this issue, which seeks to change the relevant paragraph eight of the Telemedia Act and provide legal certainty for operators of public Wi-Fi networks, has been criticised from many sides, and leaves many questions unanswered.
The panel will discuss the ministry’s draft proposal and its weaknesses, and seek answers to a number of questions: What are reasonable protective measures? How useful are self-declarations? How can easy access to public Wi-Fi hotspots be ensured? What conditions are needed to support movements like the Freifunk open-wireless-radio initiative, and why can these entities not be equated with commercial service providers?


Saskia Esken

Dr. Annette Schumacher, Head of Regulatory & Public Affairs, Kabel Deutschland

Christian Heise, Research Associate, Centre for Digital Cultures (CDC), Leuphana University of Lüneburg


Falk Steiner, Independent Journalist