FCC Proposals to Boost Spectrum Research and Spectrum-Efficient Wireless Technologies
Originally published: November 30, 2010
Last updated: February 22, 2011 - 12:54pm
The Federal Communications Commission launched two proceedings designed to promote investment and create jobs in developing innovative spectrum-efficient technologies and services to help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services.
The first action is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to expand the FCC's existing Experimental Radio Service rules to promote cutting-edge research and foster development of new wireless technologies, devices, and applications.
Specifically, the FCC proposed a new type of license, called a "program license," which would give qualified entities broad authority to conduct research without the need to seek new approval for each individual experiment.
The FCC proposed three types of program licenses:
- Research license: This would allow universities, laboratories, and other qualified research institutions to conduct experiments over a wide variety of frequencies and other operating parameters.
- Innovation Zone license: This would identify discrete geographic areas -- generally relatively remote locations -- where researchers could conduct a wide range of experiments.
- Medical license: This would allow medical institutions to innovate and develop new devices that can save lives, have a significant impact on reducing medical costs for consumers, and provide new treatment options for wounded service men and women.
The FCC also proposed ways to streamline and clarify the existing rules that support conventional experimentation. Among other things, these changes would expand opportunities for researchers and manufacturers to conduct market trials as part of product development.
The second action is a Notice of Inquiry to promote wireless innovation by examining how "dynamic access" radios and techniques -- which use technology to squeeze the most use out of available spectrum -- can provide more intensive and efficient use of spectrum. The Commission seeks comment on how to advance these technologies, whether by creating test-beds or modifying spectrum management practices and policies for future uses of both licensed and unlicensed devices and services.
The Notice of Inquiry specifically seeks feedback on the usefulness of the model recently adopted for television white spaces devices for providing access to other spectrum bands. The FCC also asks whether spectrum sensing is, or could become, a viable technology for providing dynamic access in certain frequency bands. The NOI seeks comment on whether dynamic access technologies and techniques can be used in conjunction with current FCC secondary market policies to increase spectrum use.
Finally, the NOI asks whether the FCC's "Spectrum Dashboard" could be enhanced to better utilize the potential of dynamic access technologies. The Spectrum Dashboard tracks how spectrum licenses are used around the country and the availability of spectrum locally.
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