The FCC seeks to develop innovative spectrum efficient technologies to meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services. FCC’s first action was to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would expand the existing Experimental Radio Service rules needed to promote cutting-edge research and foster new wireless technologies, devices, and applications.
This action would entail a new type of experimental license to be approved called a “Program License” to give qualified entities broad authority to conduct research without the need to seek new approvals for each individual experiment.
The FCC proposes three types of program licenses:
• Research licenses—to allow universities, laboratories and other qualified research institution to conduct experiments over a wide variety of frequencies and other operating parameters
• Innovative Zone Licenses—to identify discrete geographic areas especially remote locations where researchers could conduct a wide range of experiments and speed development of new health-related devices that use spectrum
• Medical Licenses—to allow medical institutions to innovate and develop new devices to save lives, reduce medical costs, and provide new treatment options for wounded service men and women
As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated “Experimental licensing can lead to important life-saving medical devices. The goal is to accelerate innovation and reduce the time it takes for an idea to get from the lab to the market. A more extensive experimental licensing program would help the FCC make smarter, faster decisions, by giving the Commission the on-ground intelligence on interference issues and insight into the development of new cutting edge technologies.”
According to reports, the research and medical license experimental programs have enabled research institution to not only develop ultra fast 1 Gigabit per second research and education broadband networks but the universities have also advocated that the FCC help connect these networks to anchor institutions in low-income communities.
For example, the National Broadband Plan describes how Case Western University in connecting its ultra fast, 1 Gigabit per second network to homes, schools, libraries, and museums to a low income community in Cleveland Ohio has led to innovations. This project so far has lead to software and service developments producing environmental efficiency, better healthcare, along with other new applications.
Chairman Genachowski said the FCC is seeking new ideas on how to accelerate new spectrum-efficient policies and technologies. Specifically, the Commission is interested in ideas on how to jumpstart the secondary market for dynamic spectrum access, encourage better information on spectrum use, and how to build an innovative spectrum dashboard.