Brian Hinman of Mimosa, an old friend, has led the drive to open a massive 500 MHz of the 10 GHz band now used for amateur radio. That would almost double the total WiFi spectrum. 10 GHz has limited range except with line of sight. A natural use of the band is for backhaul for wireless ISPs, who often design networks around line of sight possibilities. The alternative use, which is mentioned in early U.S. proposals to the ITU, is for earth sensing satellites.
2.4 GHz WiFi is already often crowded and 5 GHz is starting to fill up. An ISP engineer implementing WiFi gateways tells me his company already has to bring down energy levels in apartment buildings or performance suffers. The telcos are trying to steal a big hunk of WiFi spectrum for their own (very expensive) networks.
The FCC has a powerful incentive to stop LTE-U, beyond the obvious harm to WiFi. Giving the free spectrum to telcos lowers their incentive to bid in the 600 MHz spectrum auction, soon come. The FCC is promising a great deal of money to the treasury from that auction. A failure would be a major political problem.
ESS is valuable, but certainly most of the value can be achieved with far less than 500 MHz, $50B+ of value in the U.S. alone. When technology made use of bands above 6 GHz expensive, these bands were little used. Today, better chips make high band use affordable. My take is that it's massive negligence not to open more frequencies for public use.
Both Republicans and Democrats support more spectrum. "Some issues are neither Republican nor Democrat" then FCC Chair Kevin Martin once said to me. More spectrum for everyone - unlicensed or lightly licensed - is proving popular for both. Republicans Latta, Guthrie and Rubio joined liberal Democrats asking the FCC to move this forward.
Hinman's company, Mimosa, is (finally) shipping their MIMO 4x4 basestation with speeds "up to" a gigabit for less than $1,000. We've been waiting for that since Quantenna announced the chip. Mimosa has a somewhat slower version for $299. On the terrain where they will work well, this may be a breakthrough. I'm less sure about the market they will find in areas already covered by multiple LTE providers. Mimosa operates in the 5 GHz band, which is likely to become very crowded in the next few years. Freeing spectrum at 10 GHz will improve things and Brian has started proceedings at the FCC.
Below, opposition from the radio amateurs and Hinman's blog.
From ARRL http://www.arrl.org/10-ghz-up