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New FCC broadband repeater regulations

12 Mar 2013

Finally, after many years of discussion with the US telco’s , repeater manufacturers and interested parties, the FCC has issued the outline of a technical specification for broadband repeaters.

From March 2014, all broadband repeaters sold and installed in the US must adhere to these new repeater regulations.

In addition to the usual RF requirements for repeaters, two extra safety features must be added.

The first is that the uplink transmission must be switched off in less than 5 seconds after the last uplink transmission. The second is that both the uplink and the downlink must be switched off if the repeater detects any base station that is too close. Both these requirements ensure that the repeater will not reduce the sensitivity of the base station in the uplink, and avoid any downlink power issues if close to a base station.

Furthermore, anyone installing a broadband repeater must register the installation with their operator. This can be done on-line. The very fact of registering gives you a license to operate the repeater. This has been pre-agreed between almost all the operators and the FCC. The FCC has re-classified broadband repeaters as mobile equipment, and so a similar licensing regime to mobile phones will now apply .

For broadband car repeaters, a similar set of safety features applies.

The thinking behind the decision is that there are many locations where people experience poor or non-existent mobile phone coverage. Solutions such as femtocells etc. sometimes are not possible or do not suit, and in those situations a broadband repeater is ideal. Now, more than ever, internet connectivity is vital, and people/business that experience poor connectivity are at a serious disadvantage. This disadvantage is bad for the whole of society. When a workable technical solution emerges, it is important to enable its use.

All Stelladoradus repeaters already switch off the uplink after 5 seconds of non-use, and we will be implementing the second requirement shortly, after further discussion with the FCC. Stelladoradus applauds the FCC for their realistic treatment of broadband repeaters. We hope a similar technical/licensing regime emerges shortly in Europe. European citizens are now at a disadvantage with respect to their US counterparts as regards internet connectivity.

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