Signal boosters are designed to improve wireless coverage in areas where signal strength is weak, and can also be used to extend wireless coverage to hard-to-serve areas, such as tunnels, subways and garages. These increased capabilities benefit consumers, but also support vital emergency services communications systems.
In its Report and Order issued in February 2013, the Commission has created distinct regulatory requirements for signal boosters used in both consumer and industrial applications. Of particular note are new requirements applicable to signal boosters intended for consumer use. Such devices will be expected to meet stringent technical specifications designed to protect the network. Further, consumers will be required to register any signal booster with their wireless service provider prior to its use. Finally, any booster that causes interference with wireless networks cannot be placed into operation, even if the device meets the FCC’s technical specifications.
The Commission says that all four nationwide wireless carriers as well as many regional and rural carriers have consented to the use of signal boosters on their networks, as long as the devices meet the new technical specifications.