Mitchell Lazarus

Mitchell Lazarus Mitchell Lazarus has 35 years’ experience representing clients at the Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies. Schooled in both law and electrical engineering, Lazarus specializes in the regulation of new telecommunications technologies. He has helped dozens of manufacturers and service providers win FCC authorizations for innovative products and services.

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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

Non-Specific Rule, Non-Specific Violation, Very Specific Fine

The rule says to take precautions, but not what precautions to take. The licensee says it took precautions, but they didn’t work. The Enforcement Bureau says, “$25,000, please”. Suppose the rules governing operation on shared two-way channels are unspecific, mostly saying operators must take reasonable precautions to avoid interference. The rules don’t actually prohibit interference; … Continue Reading

Mobile 5G? 24+ GHz, Here We Come!

With proposed rulemaking, FCC looks to open higher reaches of spectrum for services just coming into view The FCC wants to take us higher: into higher reaches of the RF spectrum. Anticipating the eventual arrival of Fifth Generation (5G) mobile services, the FCC has proposed to open several bands above 24 GHz for 5G: 28, … Continue Reading

Librarian of Congress (Who?) Okays Widespread Hacking of Electronic Devices

You can now unlock or get access to tablets, vehicle software, video games, and more – and stay within the law. Following congressional approval last year for the unlocking of cell phones, the Librarian of Congress has now adopted a broad exemption that permits the unlocking of all wireless handsets, including smart phones and “phablets.” … Continue Reading

FCC Pressed to Extend Nosebleed Spectrum for Communications Use

Three parties seek service rules or waivers for the 102-109.5 GHz band. The FCC’s licensing and service rules presently provide for use of spectrum up to 95 GHz, an extremely high frequency. Now the FCC is considering requests to go even higher: to open the 102-109.5 GHz band for fixed microwave applications. Radio waves in … Continue Reading

Speeding FCC Approval of Technological Innovation

These ideas will help prevent regulatory delay from blocking the launch of new products. A lot of new products use the buzzwords “wireless connectivity.” In old-fashioned English, they have radio transmitters. This means they must go through an FCC approval process before they can be sold to the public. The FCC understandably writes its technical … Continue Reading

Out on a Limb on the Family Tree: Amateur Loses Claimed Great-Great-Uncle’s Vanity Call Sign

Surprisingly, the rights to some call signs turn on degrees of relatedness. Most of our postings here deal with grave concerns of policy and regulation. Once in a while, though, a not-so-grave item catches our eye. From one such we learned that, even in the American meritocracy, it really all depends on who you’re related … Continue Reading

The Fourth Law of Robotics: Don’t Miss That Spot Over There

Waiver permits Roomba manufacturer to market new self-guided lawn mower for residential use. The kid down the street who mows your lawn may have to change her business model. Automation is coming. The Roomba automatic floor cleaner, a favorite of cats everywhere, is heading outdoors. iRobot Corporation, maker of the Roomba (and the best name … Continue Reading

Update: Mitchell Lazarus Says Thanks … Again

 … this time to a lot of his friends. [Blogmeister’s Note: A few months ago our colleague and friend, Mitchell Lazarus, used this space to thank an anonymous donor who provided blood stem cells to help treat his leukemia. Mitchell was in the middle of his treatment then, so his post left us all hanging: … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes to Revamp Equipment Authorization Rules, Again

Changes will update policies and procedures to accommodate developing technologies. Among the FCC’s many functions is one known to a small community of technical experts – and, of course, CommLawBlog readers: the equipment authorization program. These procedures seek to ensure that devices capable of emitting radio-frequency energy comply with the FCC’s requirements as to frequency, … Continue Reading
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