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Indiana Law Journal

Internet Law

2023

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The Policy Origins Of Wi-Fi, John Blevins Jan 2023

The Policy Origins Of Wi-Fi, John Blevins

Indiana Law Journal

Wi-Fi technology has become a necessary foundation of modern economic and cultural life. This Article explains its history. Specifically, it argues that Wi-Fi owes its existence and widespread adoption to federal policy choices that have been underexplored in the literature. Wi-Fi’s development is often portrayed as an unexpected and lucky accident following the FCC’s initial decision in the 1980s to allow more unlicensed and experimental uses. This view, however, obscures the more fundamental role that federal policy played. For one, the rise of modern Wi-Fi was the product of a series of policy decisions spanning decades. In addition, the FCC’s …