FCC Greenlights More Expansive Use of Signal Boosters

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At its March 2018 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which both liberalizes the use of Consumer Signal Boosters and seeks further comment on how to increase the environments in which Consumer Signal Boosters may be used. Specifically, the Second Report and Order eliminates the personal use restriction on Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters so that businesses, public safety entities, educational institutions, and other enterprise users can also benefit from these boosters. This change would, for example, enable a small business to use a Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Booster to improve signal strength within its office for the benefit of all employees and guests. The Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SFNPRM) first seeks comment on whether to expand Consumer Signal Booster operations to additional spectrum bands (i.e., beyond those spectrum bands included when the rules were first instituted). Second, the SFNPRM proposes to remove unnecessary barriers to embedding Consumer Signal Boosters within vehicles such as cars, boats, and recreational vehicles. Finally, the SFNPRM proposes to facilitate enterprise use of Consumer Signal Boosters by: (1) eliminating the personal use restriction on Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters; and (2) authorizing non-subscribers to operate both types of Consumer Signal Boosters. These changes would, for example, enable a small business in an area with poor wireless coverage to use a Consumer Signal Booster to improve coverage for its employees and customers on all wireless networks.

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