The FCC adopted new rules for wireless signal boosters on February 20, 2013. These rules are described below, but do not go into full effect until March 1, 2014.
Read the Consumer Advisory for consumers who own signal boosters.
Robust Wireless Service at Home, at Work, and on the Road
Signal boosters represent a cost-effective means of improving our nation’s wireless infrastructure. Mobile voice and mobile broadband services are increasingly important to consumers and to our nation’s economy. While nearly the entire U.S. population is served by one or more wireless providers, coverage gaps that exist within and at the edge of service areas can lead to dropped calls, reduced data speeds, or complete loss of service.
Robust signal boosters can bridge these gaps and extend coverage at the fringe of service areas. Signal boosters are particularly useful in rural and difficult-to-serve indoor environments, such as office buildings and hospitals. Signal boosters can also improve public safety communications by enabling the public to connect to 911 in areas where wireless coverage is deficient or where an adequate communications signal is blocked or shielded.
The FCC issued a Report and Order on February 20, 2013, that includes rules and policies that will enhance wireless coverage for consumers, particularly in rural, underserved, and difficult-to-serve areas by broadening the availability of signal boosters while ensuring that boosters do not adversely affect wireless networks.
Consumer Signal Boosters are designed to be used “out of the box” by individuals to improve their wireless coverage within a limited area such as a home, car, boat, or recreational vehicle. The FCC recently adopted new rules to improve signal booster design so these devices won’t cause interference to wireless networks. The FCC also adopted new rules about what cell phone users need to do before using a signal booster. Learn about these new requirements in the Signal Boosters FAQ.
Industrial Signal Boosters include a wide variety of devices that are designed for installation by licensees or professional installers. These devices are typically designed to serve multiple users simultaneously and cover larger areas such as stadiums, airports, office buildings, hospitals, tunnels, and educational campuses. Industrial Signal Boosters sold and marketed starting on March 1, 2014 must meet new FCC requirements.
Part 90 Signal Boosters are a type of Industrial Signal Booster. Part 90 Signal Boosters sold and marketed starting on March 1, 2014 must meet new FCC requirements. In addition, Class B Signal Boosters must be registered directly with the FCC before being used.