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FCC aims to tackle wireless booster scuffle

21 Feb 2013
Mobile spectrum antenna

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to settle controversy over the use of wireless signal boosters by consumers.

The Commission said that it would be seeking to settle conflicts between customers who wish to improve the quality of their local wireless signals and carriers who argue that in some cases the boosting equipment can in fact interfere with the wireless signals in the area.

According to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the interference is in some cases forcing carriers to track down and disable some devices in order to preserve the overall quality of their network signals.

"Robust, quality, signal boosters have been properly narrowing service gaps without adverse consequences to wireless networks for many years," Clyburn said.

"Unfortunately, there have been instances, when technically deficient, or improperly-installed signal boosters, have caused harmful interference to commercial and public safety wireless networks."

The Commission is also looking to preserve the rights of consumers to safely improve the quality of wireless signals in their homes. Mignon said that while the concern of carriers would be considered, the Commission will also be placing a premium on preserving user rights when deciding on rules.

As such, the Commission said that it would be advocating a licence model in which carriers can work with vendors to develop approved signal boosters which can operate without worry of network interference.

"At the end of the day, a signal booster manufacturer and a licensed wireless service provider share the same goal – improving the ability of consumers to receive uninterrupted, quality service from a licensed, wireless network," Mignon said.

"I'm pleased that the two sides were able to work past their differences and arrive at a solution that will benefit millions of Americans, who clearly need signal enhancement."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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