Archives: Unlicensed Operations and Emerging Technologies

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Is Hyper-Local FM Radio Coming?

A company called GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC, has filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), to allow FM radio stations to operate on-channel boosters that do not entirely duplicate the content of the main station.  The idea is to allow each booster to insert local content intended for just the portion of … Continue Reading

Dates Announced for Comments on Regulation of RF Emissions in Higher Frequency Bands

On January 9, 2020, we blogged about a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decision resolving many of the issues that it had been considering with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. The FCC also invited comments as to whether it should extend its regulation of RF emissions from the present … Continue Reading

Radiofrequency Exposure Limits Revised: FCC Proposes Expanding Rules to Cover Higher Frequencies

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has resolved many of the issues that it has been considering since 2013 with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. An important aspect of the decision is that existing exposure limits will not be tightened. However, the environmental rules dealing with RF exposure have … Continue Reading

In an Emergency: Which Door Should First Responders Kick In?

About 80% of the 240 million phone calls received by 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) come from wireless callers. The goal of regulators is that technology automatically identify the location of callers even if callers don’t know where they are or are unable to speak the information because of injury or constraint by an … Continue Reading

FCC Shutdown Becomes a Little Less Shut Down

One downside of a government shutdown—or the present partial shutdown that includes the FCC—is the inability of technology companies to obtain the FCC certifications they need to market certain kinds of new products. Good news: the FCC has reopened a website that makes it possible for most (not all) new devices to obtain their certifications.… Continue Reading

New Equipment Rules Take Effect

Changes to the equipment authorization rules the FCC adopted last July appeared in the Federal Register this morning and take effect today. Major changes include the option of putting required labeling on a device’s display screen, and combination of the former verification and Declaration of Conformity procedures into a new procedure called Supplier’s Declaration of … Continue Reading

Last of Citizens Broadband Radio Service Rules Become Final

The FCC’s rules for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) have become final, after many years in the works. No, it’s not your grandfather’s “Ten-four, good buddy” citizens band, but a high-end, super-Wi-Fi-type service that someday will serve your portable devices with fast digital signals. But don’t run down to Best Buy quite yet. The engineers are … Continue Reading

Leggo Our Spectrum – The Auto Industry’s Win for Vehicular Radar

FCC Order Represents One More Step Towards Fully-Autonomous Vehicles I’ve written on connected and autonomous vehicles in the past, including about an ongoing spectrum fight at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding use of spectrum set aside years ago for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (specifically, for a technology called DSRC). The FCC now has revised … Continue Reading

FCC Tweaks Mic Rules, Microsoft Launches Spectrum Fight

In late 2015, major wireless microphone manufacturers requested that the FCC “reconsider” various mostly-technical rules that it had adopted as part of a wide-ranging strategy to reallocate spectrum for wireless microphones. (We’ve written about recent regulatory changes for wireless mics here, here and here.) The Commission now has responded via an Order aimed at fine-tuning … Continue Reading

The FCC Re-Tweaks the Equipment Authorization Rules

Some FCC regulations are carved in stone, changing about as often as the rules of chess. But not the equipment authorization rules, which lay out the procedures manufacturers and importers must follow to market devices having potential to cause interference to radio communications. The FCC likes to revise and update these every few years. This … Continue Reading

Major Changes Sought in Nascent Citizens Broadband Radio Service

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) has not even been born yet, but already major industry players want to change its basic character.  CBRS, as its name implies, was conceived and approved by the FCC a couple of years ago as a broadband service for locally-focused businesses.  The regulatory paradigm included both a large swathe … Continue Reading

NTIA Seeks Comments on Cybersecurity Threats

We’ve previously reported on a drone-related multistakeholder process convened by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the Department of Commerce and is responsible for telecommunications and technology policy. For several years, NTIA has considered important policy issues related to emerging technologies through these “multistakeholder processes,” which bring together industry, public … Continue Reading

The FCC is Now Granting Program Experimental Licenses (Finally!)

The FCC has always been kind to people who tinker with radio equipment, whether teenagers blowing out their parents’ fuses (that was us) or manufacturers’ research labs (maybe you). Licenses in the Experimental Radio Service allow work with radio transmitters that don’t otherwise meet FCC standards. The problem with these experimental licenses was that most … Continue Reading

Drones for Tower Inspections? Lookout for FAA Regulations

FAA Waivers May Be Required Last summer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its first regulations allowing commercial flights of small unmanned aircraft (sUAS, colloquially known as drones). As we reported, those rules place a number of restrictions on flying drones for commercial use, although the agency provided the opportunity to obtain waivers of some … Continue Reading

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

The FCC’s Foray Into 5G, IoT Device Cybersecurity

Public Safety Bureau asks wide-ranging questions in NOI The Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has put out a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking information about the security of communications in 5G networks and devices. The Bureau raises these questions especially in light of the expected Internet-of-Things-related proliferation of wireless devices that have the … Continue Reading

Blanket Import Waiver, Extended

FCC extends waiver of Form 740 import declarations As we’ve reported here and here, the Commission is proposing to modify some of its import declaration rules (i.e. Sections 2.1203 and 2.1205). These require, in part, that importers of RF equipment into the United States make certain certifications either electronically or on paper. The proposed rule … Continue Reading

Making Your Airport Great Again: FCC Waiver Allows Updated Body Scanners

We reported earlier this year that the FCC was seeking comment on a waiver request to allow certification of an updated, wider-band version of airport body scanners, ones that will meet new TSA standards. That waiver, which was not opposed, now has been granted, allowing L-3 Communications Security and Detection Systems to obtain equipment certification for its … 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
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