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FCC adopts new guidelines for signal boosters

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 12:40pm
Ben Munson, Wireless Week

The FCC Wednesday issued a Report and Order concerning cellular signal booster use and preventing them from interfering with wireless networks. Under the new rules, consumers are required to obtain permission from and register their signal booster with their wireless carriers in order to continue using it.

In addition, new technical specification requirements for signal boosters, originally proposed by Wilson Electronics, Verizon Wireless and V-COMM last year, were put into place. Equipment sold or marketed in the U.S. must meet the new requirements by March 1, 2014.

Wilson applauded the Commission’s new regulations, saying they “will eliminate poorly designed products that currently plague the market and have been a source of cell site interference.”

All four nationwide U.S. carriers supported the FCC placing stricter regulations on the manufacture and use of signal boosters.

But AT&T said that “for these standards to be most effective, however, it is important that they are coupled with appropriate enforcement and consumer outreach.”

Signal boosters can be used to increase coverage in underserved areas or difficult-to-serve indoor areas. They work by receiving a nearby wireless signal, boosting its power and then re-broadcasting it. They possess advantages over femtocells, like the ability to boost multiple signals from different carriers, and they do not require an Internet connection.

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