FCC proposed rule changes regarding signal boosters

Continuing its efforts to expand mobile broadband access, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed changes to its rules regarding the deployment and use of signal boosters.

Although more than 98% of the U.S. population now has access to advanced wireless services, the Commission notes that coverage gaps in mobile broadband services persist, particularly in rural areas.  In addition, consistent access to mobile broadband services can be an issue in office buildings, educational campuses and healthcare facilities where reliable communications are essential.  The Commission believes that the broader deployment of signal boosters can mitigate service gaps in difficult-to-serve geographies and environments.

Issued in April 2011, the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposes to modify current rules to allow individuals and certain entities to operate “consumer signal boosters,” consistent with its radiofrequency (RF) exposure rules, and within parameters that would prevent or control interference with other operators.  Specifically, the FCC seeks comments on the following issues related to the expanded use of signal boosters:

  • Whether newly introduced signal boosters should be required to register with a national signal booster clearinghouse prior to operation;
  • How signal boosters already in service should be treated under the proposed regulations;
  • When the new signal booster requirements should come into effect.

Read the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding signal boosters. Comments on the proposed rule changes are due by May 20, 2011.