FCC Improves Rules For Wireless Signal Boosters

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to provide increased flexibility in the use of consumer signal boosters and proposed additional actions to further enhance the usefulness and effectiveness of these boosters. The rules  eliminate the current personal use restriction on provider-specific boosters so that businesses, public safety entities, educational institutions, and other enterprise users and their customers can also benefit from the use of boosters. The FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to explore ways to allow additional flexibility in the use of consumer signal boosters, including seeking input on removing unnecessary barriers to embedding boosters within vehicles. The FNPRM proposes to eliminate the personal use restriction on wideband boosters and to authorize non-subscribers to operate both types of consumer signal boosters, and seeks comment on whether to expand consumer signal booster operations to additional spectrum bands.

Consumer signal boosters are devices that extend and improve wireless service without special engineering or professional installation. The boosters are designed to be used “out of the box” to improve wireless coverage within a limited area such as a home, boat, office, or recreational vehicle. Boosters can be “wideband,” i.e., able to operate on the frequencies and in the market areas of multiple licensees, or “provider-specific,” i.e., operating only on the frequencies and in the market areas of the licensee(s) specified during the certification of the device.