FCC to Reform Spectrum Receivers, Opening Airwaves
WASHINGTON — Spectrum technology is at the core of modern wireless communication, enabling the seamless transmission of information between major systems and devices like cell phones, televisions, GPS and radars. Like all communication technology, spectrum has a transmitter and a receiver, but they haven’t always been equally regulated.
The Federal Communications Commission took steps Thursday to regulate spectrum receiver performance by starting its notice of inquiry process.
Better receiver performance of the spectrum receptors will lead to the FCC’s ability to allow more private use of public airwaves. For instance, in 2020 the FCC opened up the C-Band spectrum, which allowed cell phone companies to provide 5G service.
At Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Brendan Carr explained the issues that halted 5G rollout near some airports. At the time, airline pilot and flight attendant unions contended the 5G signal interfered with their navigation technology, which also utilizes part of the spectrum.
The complaint illustrated the need for improved receiver standards to provide private use to a “valuable swath of airwaves,” he said.
“That entire time-consuming effort might have been avoided if more efficient receiver standards were in place. Otherwise, our innovation use cases of the future will be constrained and limited by potentially decades-old and inefficient standards,” Carr said.
The commission specifically hopes to improve “interference immunity,” using the stricter regulations to determine which receivers connect with specific spectrum waves.
Commissioner Geoffrey Starks likened ensuring those with spectrum receivers guarantee they meet stricter requirements to homeowners creating their own privacy and noise reduction at their homes.
“… [If] we compare the receiver performance issue to a neighborhood dispute, we’ve spent the past two decades forcing homeowners to speak in no more than a whisper to avoid disturbing their neighbors,” Starks said. “That’s not fair.”
The potential reform, still in its infancy, has been attempted twice before in the past two decades, but the commission failed to follow through. Now, there is unanimous bipartisan support on the politically split commission to reform regulations on the receivers.
Commissioner Nathan Simington has been the leading voice on the commission to reform spectrum technology regulation and better utilize the increasingly limited airwaves.
“Like real estate, they just aren’t making any more of it. The future is dense spectral neighborhoods of commercial users packed tightly, in space and in spectrum, vying for every last hertz of usable real estate,” Simington said Thursday. “We should think of RF spectrum as fully occupied land whose usage must inevitably intensify. Our regulatory philosophy must accommodate this new reality.”
Now the commission will solicit public input to reform its regulations while at the same time working with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to update policies already on the books, Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said.
“We need policies that promote more efficient use of this scarce resource,” she said.
Madeline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In The News
BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile said Thursday that an unidentified malicious intruder breached its network in late... Read More
BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile said Thursday that an unidentified malicious intruder breached its network in late November and stole data on 37 million customers, including addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth. T-Mobile said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and... Read More
A couple of years into the pandemic, Shirley Neville had finally had enough of her shoddy internet service. “It was... Read More
A couple of years into the pandemic, Shirley Neville had finally had enough of her shoddy internet service. “It was just a headache,” said Neville, who lives in a middle-class neighborhood in New Orleans whose residents are almost all Black or Latino. “When I was getting... Read More
WASHINGTON — Seven voice service providers face removal from a key database managed by the Federal Trade Commission if they... Read More
WASHINGTON — Seven voice service providers face removal from a key database managed by the Federal Trade Commission if they fail to demonstrate they’re taking concrete steps to comply with the agency’s anti-robocall rules. The first-of-their-kind FCC Enforcement Bureau orders give the companies until Oct. 18... Read More
BUCHAREST, Romania — An American was chosen to be the first woman to lead the United Nations’ telecommunications agency, the... Read More
BUCHAREST, Romania — An American was chosen to be the first woman to lead the United Nations’ telecommunications agency, the International Telecommunication Union, in its 157-year history after an overwhelming vote Thursday in Romania. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the new secretary general of the agency, received 139 votes... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is looking at ways to help deaf incarcerated people connect better with their families... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is looking at ways to help deaf incarcerated people connect better with their families through improved telecommunications services, including video chatting, in prisons and jails throughout the country. “Incarcerated people face considerable barriers to stay in touch with their loved... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission formally added Pacific Networks Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet and China Unicom... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission formally added Pacific Networks Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet and China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited to its list of companies whose telecom equipment and service pose a national security threat. The commission along with national security agencies created... Read More