Monday, November 29, 2010

FCC Proposes "Program License" to Boost Wireless Research

The FCC launched two proceedings aimed at supporting research and development of wireless technologies.

The first proceeding seeks to expand the FCC's existing Experimental Radio Service rules by offering 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 Commission 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

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 proposed rules would also expand opportunities for researchers and manufacturers to conduct market trials as part of product development.

The second proceeding examines 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 Commission 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 Commission'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.