- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched an inquiry into whether
cellular signal boosters need to be banned or regulated to prevent cell-site
Following requests by CTIA, booster maker Wilson Electronics and
others, the FCC set a Feb. 5 deadline for comments and a Feb. 22 deadline for
Signal boosters extend a cellphone's range in the car or home in
areas where signal strength is weak, and the CTIA contends that unauthorized or
"inappropriately installed" signal boosters are causing interference in
cellular carriers' networks. CTIA asked the FCC to "clarify that the sale or use of signal boosters without appropriate
CMRS [commercial mobile radio service] licensee consent is unlawful," according
to the FCC's
Some members of PCIA-The Wireless in turn asked the FCC to
"explore the best methods of resolving interference issues without resorting to
regulations that unnecessarily inhibit the sale and installation of signal
boosters, such as requiring prior licensee consent, or hinder market
innovations," the public notice states. The PCIA members submitted an Industry
Code of Conduct "as a reasonable structure for the development of rules to
address the marketing and use of signal boosters" and proposed the code be
incorporated in or cross-referenced by any FCC rules, the FCC said.
For its part, Wilson Electronics
of St. George, Utah, contended in a filing that "well-designed
and -engineered signal boosters actually benefit not only wireless customers
but the carriers as well." To ensure the boosters are well-designed, Wilson asked the FCC to adopt three standards for
approving signal boosters during routine certification.
The FCC, Wilson said, should require all signal boosters to feature:
(feedback) detection and automatic shutdown;
--effective cell tower proximity detection and automatic
shutdown to prevent cell-site overloads; and
--bi-directional (tower-to-device and device-to-tower)
Sales director Walt Brooks told TWICE that feedback detection and
automatic shutdown would prevent inaudible RF-noise-generating over-modulation
that "can knock a tower down." Proximity detection would prevent ambient noise from
being amplified when close to a cell site to such an extent that it drowns out other
calls being made through the site, he added. Such an overload reduces a cell
site's capacity to handle calls.
For best user satisfaction, two-way amplification should be
required. Some signal boosters only amplify incoming signals, not outgoing
transmission, Brooks said.
"No network covers, or can cover, every possible location where
cell phone users may need to make or receive a call," added Wilson COO Joe
Banos. "As such, we believe there is a public need for cell phone signal
boosters, and restricting them will hurt the public."
Marketers interested in commenting can go to http://fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/
Washington - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched an inquiry into whether cellular signal boosters need to be banned or regulated to prevent cell-site interference.