Mitchell Lazarus

Mitchell Lazarus Mitchell Lazarus specializes in obtaining FCC approvals for innovative technologies. Expert in the agency’s arcane legal and technical rules, he advises clients on radar, surveillance and security devices, unlicensed radio, fixed microwave, and broadband technologies, among others.

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Wi-Fi Holds its Breath as FCC OKs LTE-U

Wi-Fi is one of the great technological successes of our age. It gives fast, reliable data transmission by anyone for any purpose. No FCC license is needed. No single provider controls the technology. The equipment is inexpensive and available in a large, competitive marketplace. It almost always works. Was it too good to last? We … Continue Reading

FCC Names Spectrum Access Administrators

Seven companies will simultaneously control multiple users across three priority levels in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The FCC hopes to launch new spectrum management techniques with the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), in which large numbers of users will share the spectrum with each other and with incumbents through a three-tiered access model. Each … Continue Reading

Microwave Group Seeks Access to Reserved but Unused Spectrum

Rulemaking petition objects to satellite earth stations’ setting aside frequencies they may never need. Managing the radio spectrum is one of the FCC’s toughest, least appreciated jobs. The goal is to squeeze in as many users as possible, with the least interference among them. Often the FCC can get more out of a frequency band … Continue Reading

Some 5G Rules Take Effect Soon

(More rules recently went through public comment and are still pending)   Last July we reported on the FCC’s progress toward future wireless “5G” technologies, which promise blindingly fast data speeds. The rules adopted then are now slated to take effect on December 14, except for those on satellite earth stations in the 27.5-28.35 and … Continue Reading

FCC Approves (Very Late) Application to be a 70/80/90 GHz Database Manager

But success will be limited if the FCC approves mobile usage in the 70/80 GHz segments. The FCC rules mandate a lot of different techniques to keep radio communications from interfering with each other. One of the more unusual applies to the “nosebleed spectrum” way up at 71-76, 81-86, and 92-95 GHz – the highest … Continue Reading

Marketing Wi-Fi Gear with Changeable Country Code Draws $200,000 Penalty … and More

Novel consent decree provision requires company to “share information” with third-party software developers and others. In what might ordinarily have been a run-of-the-mill consent decree between Wi-Fi equipment manufacturer TP-Link and the FCC, the company has admitted to selling potentially overpowered Wi-Fi routers and has agreed to pay a fine of $200,000 – toward the … Continue Reading

FCC Works its Will on the WISP, Part II: Sentence Suspended, Somewhat

$202k fine reduced to $40k … but there’s a catch. Three years ago – doesn’t the time just fly? – we told you about Towerstream, a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) whose transmitters had caused interference to airport weather radars. The FCC proposed a fine of $202,000, apparently in keeping with its rumored policy of … Continue Reading

10+ GHz for 5G: FCC Expands Spectrum Frontiers for Fifth Generation Connectivity

U.S. aims to get ahead of the rest of the world in advanced wireless technology. As we’ve reported, the FCC has been hard at work on the regulatory regime for future wireless “5G” technologies, which promise blindingly fast data speeds. Would-be 5G wireless providers and device manufacturers particularly want wide swaths of millimeter wave (mmWave) … Continue Reading

FCC Un-Restricts Restricted Bands for More Experimental Licenses

Sensitive frequencies now available to companies developing medical devices. A small fraction of frequency bands need extraordinary protection from radio interference. Some, like those used for radio astronomy, depend on extremely sensitive receivers. Others carry signals essential to safety, like search-and rescue bands and GPS, which helps to land airplanes as well as to find … Continue Reading

Having Re-Thought its 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi Technical Rules, FCC Has to Think Again

In petitions for reconsideration, wireless Internet service providers and car manufacturers go head to head over out-of-band emissions limits. This was supposed to be a simple rule fix. Why are we still talking about it? An unlicensed band at 5.8 GHz is heavily used for Wi-Fi, among other things. It is a particular favorite of … Continue Reading

FCC to Wrongdoers: Answer Your Mail!

Failure to respond to FCC notices can have adverse consequences. When the FCC proposed to fine Chinese company C.T.S. Technology $34,912,500 a couple of years ago for marketing jammers in the United States, we predicted it would have trouble collecting. Silly us – we underestimated the FCC’s problems in even communicating with C.T.S., which did not … Continue Reading

FCC Query: How to Include New ANSI Standard in the Rules?

Public notice seeks guidance on incorporating new ANSI measurement procedures. This is one of those items that will interest only a few readers, but will interest those readers a lot. Along with technical requirements for many kinds of devices, the FCC prescribes measurement procedures for assessing compliance with those requirements. Some of these procedures are … Continue Reading

5G is Coming! Wait – What’s 5G?

New services promise exceptional performance. Just not everywhere. And not soon. After the successes of 3G and 4G mobile services, something called 5G was inevitable. It’s still a ways off, but the outlines are taking shape. The hallmark of 5G mobile service will be blindingly fast data speeds, possibly in the gigabit-per-second range, faster than … Continue Reading

Amber Waives of Grain? FCC OK’s TVWS Down on the Farm

Companies granted waiver to deploy TV white space gear on farm equipment, farmhouses It happened again. Just when the lawyers thought they finally had a regulatory scheme that works, the engineers came up with a new idea that doesn’t fit. We recently wrote about this phenomenon in ultra-wideband technology, in an agricultural context. This time it’s … Continue Reading

New Math, Enforcement Bureau Style

In two similar cases (with markedly different results), the Bureau demonstrates that the calculation of fines is not art, and certainly not science. Maybe we’re just not very smart, but we can’t figure out the FCC’s rationale for penalizing certain categories of wrongdoers. Take, for example, the case of Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing, Inc., located in … Continue Reading

“Utility” Regulation Was Good for the Internet (and here’s why …)

The Internet’s stunning growth, from its beginnings through maturity in 2005, relied on common carrier rules. (Blogmeister’s note: Even more than usual, this post reflects the views of its author and not necessarily those of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, its other lawyers, or its clients.) The FCC’s latest effort at net neutrality rules is a … Continue Reading

“Crop Penetrating Radar”: Bringing Higher Tech to the Farm?

Requested waiver would let ground penetrating radar operate higher above the ground than current ultra-wideband rules allow. Down here in the CommLawBlog bunker, we urban types think of agriculture as dealing primarily with dirt. But in fact modern farming relies on a lot of technology, including precision satellite observations, high-end drones, and self-driving, GPS-guided tractors. … Continue Reading

The Beat Goes On – New Device Needs FCC Waiver to Monitor Heart Rate

Ultra-wideband sensor arguably does not use enough bandwidth to qualify as ultra-wideband. Ultra-wideband (UWB) radio works by spreading a very low power signal across a very wide range of frequencies. The FCC approved ultra-wideband in 2002, following what it understatedly called “an unusually controversial proceeding.” Almost every category of spectrum user, including parts of the … Continue Reading

Ouch! Out-Sized Penalty for Ordinary Outfit Overlooking Obligations

Sheet-metal company to pay $135,000 for license-related paperwork violations; offenses included operation after expiration and unauthorized transfer of control. Many businesses must comply with the FCC’s rules, even though they may not know it. Failing to understand this can prove expensive. Just ask Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC. According to its website, Constellium is one … Continue Reading

Look! A Quasar! … No, Wait – It’s a Fitbit!

Irony alert: radio astronomy organization hands out fitness devices that threaten interference to radio-telescope operation. Wrist-worn activity monitors like the Fitbit are good for radio astronomers. But not so good for radio astronomy. Much as traditional astronomers use optical telescopes to see with visible light, radio astronomers use “radio telescopes” to observe distant objects by … Continue Reading
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