Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
‘ May 17, 2013
DA 13- 1143
Small Entity Compliance Guide
Amendment of Parts 1, 2, 22, 24, 27, 90 and 95 of the Commission’s Rules to
Improve Wireless Coverage Through the Use of Signal Boosters
WT Docket No. 10-4
This Guide is prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section 212 of the
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. It is intended to
help small entities—small businesses, small organizations (non-profits), and
small governmental jurisdictions—comply with the new rules adopted in the
above-referenced FCC rulemaking docket(s). This Guide is not intended to
replace the rules and, therefore, final authority rests solely with the rules.
Although we have attempted to cover all parts of the rules that might be
especially important to small entities, the coverage may not be exhaustive. This
Guide may, perhaps, not apply in a particular situation based upon the
circumstances, and the FCC retains the discretion to adopt approaches on a case-
by-case basis that may differ from this Guide, where appropriate. Any decisions
regarding a particular small entity will be based on the statute and regulations.
In any civil or administrative action against a small entity for a violation of
rules, the content of the Small Entity Compliance Guide may be considered as
evidence of the reasonableness or appropriateness of proposed fines, penalties or
damages. Interested parties are free to file comments regarding this Guide and
the appropriateness of its application to a particular situation; the FCC will
consider whether the recommendations or interpretations in the Guide are
appropriate in that situation. The FCC may decide to revise this Guide without
public notice to reflect changes in the FCC’s approach to implementing a rule,
or to clarify or update the text of the Guide. Direct your comments and
recommendations, or calls for further assistance, to the FCC’s Consumer
TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROCEEDING........................................................................................... 3
II. REGULATIONS AND POLICIES THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPTED OR
MODIFIED, INCLUDING COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS ................................................... 4
1. Consumer Signal Boosters...................................................................................................... 4
A. Signal Boosters In Subscriber-Based Services ............................................................................ 4
2. Industrial Signal Boosters..................................................................................................... 11
3. Equipment.............................................................................................................................. 12
4. RF Exposure Requirements ................................................................................................. 13
5. Treatment of Existing Signal Boosters ................................................................................ 13
6. Equipment Certification ....................................................................................................... 13
7. Other Issues............................................................................................................................ 14
B. Signal Boosters for Public Safety and Private Land Mobile Radio Service
Operations under Part 90............................................................................................................ 14
1. Authorization for Part 90 Signal Boosters .......................................................................... 15
2. Part 90 Signal Booster Classifications and Operational Restrictions............................... 15
III. WEBLINK .......................................................................................................................................... 19
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROCEEDING
In the Report and Order
in WT Docket No. 10-4, the Commission adopted new technical,
operational, and registration requirements for signal boosters. The new rules created two classes of signal
boosters – Consumer and Industrial – with distinct regulatory requirements for each.1 The term “signal
booster” in the Report and Order
is intended to include all manner of amplifiers, repeaters, boosters,
distributed antenna systems, and in-building radiation systems that serve to amplify signals between a
device and a wireless network. The use of the term “signal booster” does not include femtocells.
Femtocells are different from signal boosters. Femtocells are similar to small base stations inside homes
or offices and only work in a provider’s licensed area. Femtocells are not covered by the rules adopted in
the Report and Order
The rules and policies adopted in the Report and Order
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. 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
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. Signal boosters represent a cost-effective means of improving our nation’s
wireless infrastructure and should lead to more robust service for many Americans at home, at work, and
on the road.
The new regulatory framework adopted in the Report and Order
will allow consumers to realize
the benefits of using signal boosters while preventing, controlling, and, if necessary, resolving
interference to wireless networks. In the Report and Order
the Commission took the following actions,
as described more fully below:
Adopted technical and operational requirements for Consumer Signal Boosters.
Adopted operational requirements for Industrial Signal Boosters.
Revised technical and operational requirements for duly-licensed Part 90 Private Land Mobile
Radio (PLMR), Industrial Signal Boosters.
Established a two-step transition process for equipment certification for both Consumer and
Industrial Signal Boosters sold and marketed in the United States.
1 Amendment of Parts 1, 2, 22, 24, 27, 90 and 95 of the Commission's Rules to Improve Wireless Coverage Through
the Use of Signal Boosters, Report and Order
, 28 FCC Rcd 1663 (2013) (Report and Order
REGULATIONS AND POLICIES THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPTED OR
MODIFIED, INCLUDING COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS
Signal Boosters in Subscriber-Based Services
Consumer Signal Boosters
The Commission defined Consumer Signal Boosters as devices that are marketed to and sold for
personal use by individuals. These devices allow an individual within a limited area such as a home, car,
boat or RV, to improve wireless coverage. Consumer Signal Boosters are designed to be used “out-of-
the-box” and do not need fine-tuning or other technical adjustments. Individuals should be able to install
Consumer Signal Boosters without third party, professional assistance.
Consumer Signal Boosters can be designed to cover multiple wireless providers (Wideband
Consumer Signal Boosters) or a single provider (Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Booster). Both
Wideband and Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters can be either fixed or mobile. The
Commission defined a fixed Consumer Signal Booster as a Consumer Signal Booster designed to operate
in a fixed location in a building and a mobile Consumer Signal Booster as a Consumer Signal Booster
designed to operate while moving, e.g
., in a vehicle or boat, where both uplink and downlink transmitting
antennas are at least 20 cm from the user or any other person.
Authorization for Consumer Signal Boosters
The Commission determined that Consumer Signal Boosters should be authorized under provider
licenses as subscriber equipment subject to certain requirements. The authorization requirements are
summarized here and are explained in more detail below. In order to use a Consumer Signal Booster, a
Have some form of consent from his/her wireless provider to operate the Consumer
Signal Booster. (Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and the Rural
Telecommunications Group (RTG) member companies have made voluntary
commitments to consent to all Consumer Signal Boosters that meet the Network
Protection Standard. Therefore, the subscribers of these companies will not need to
specifically seek consent from these providers, or other providers who make similar
“blanket” consent commitments, for Consumer Signal Boosters that meet the Network
Register the Consumer Signal Booster consistent with the procedures of his/her wireless
Operate the Consumer Signal Booster only on certain frequencies used for the provision
of subscriber-based services.
Operate a Consumer Signal Booster on a secondary, non-interference basis and shut
down the booster if it is causing harmful interference.
Use a Consumer Signal Booster that meets the Network Protection Standard and has been
equipment certified consistent with the new rules.
Use a Consumer Signal Booster which is appropriately labeled consistent with the rules
in the Report and Order
and use the device only with manufacturer-specified antennas,
cables, and/or couplings.
Not deactivate any features of the Consumer Signal Booster which are designed to
mitigate harmful interference to wireless networks.
All of these prongs of the authorization process must be satisfied for use of Consumer Signal Boosters to
stay in compliance with the Commission’s rules.
Blanket Authorization Under Provider Licenses
The Commission amended Part 20 of its rules to provide that the authority for wireless
subscribers to operate Consumer Signal Boosters is “included in the authorization held by the licensee
providing service to them” subject to certain requirements.2 The first of these requirements is consent.
Under the regulatory framework adopted in the Report and Order
, a subscriber must have the consent of a
wireless provider to operate a Consumer Signal Booster. Subscribers may obtain provider consent in a
variety of ways. For example, all four nationwide wireless providers – Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile,
Sprint, and AT&T – and the member companies of RTG, have voluntarily committed to allow their
subscribers to use properly certificated3 Consumer Signal Boosters on their networks; this voluntary
“blanket” commitment constitutes sufficient licensee consent for a subscriber to operate a Consumer
Signal Booster on that provider’s network. Thus, once a Consumer Signal Booster has been certificated
under new rules, these companies’ subscribers need only register their Consumer Signal Boosters with
their wireless providers prior to operation; subscribers generally need not seek further consent from their
wireless provider. The Commission also notes that a signal booster manufacturer could seek
authorization for use of a particular booster model on behalf of all subscribers of individual providers.
However, if a Consumer Signal Booster causes actual harmful interference, once the subscriber is notified
of the interference event by a wireless provider or the Commission, the subscriber must shut down the
device immediately or as soon as practicable.
The Commission required all nationwide wireless service providers to file certain information
with the Commission regarding their consent for their subscribers to use Consumer Signal Boosters.4
Specifically, on March 1, 2015 and March 1, 2016, all nationwide wireless providers must publicly
indicate their status regarding consent for each Consumer Signal Booster that has received FCC
certification as listed in a Public Notice to be released by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau 30
days prior to each reporting date. For each listed Consumer Signal Booster, wireless providers should
report whether they (1) consent to use of the device; (2) do not consent to use of the device; or (3) are still
considering whether or not they will consent to the use of the device. This reporting requirement will
provide the Commission with valuable information regarding providers’ treatment of Consumer Signal
Boosters, including the level of consumer access. This information will be used to determine whether it is
necessary to revisit Consumer Signal Booster authorization mechanism.
The Commission determined that the public interest will be served by requiring subscribers to
register their Consumer Signal Boosters with their wireless providers prior to operation and as a condition
of authorization.5 This requirement applies to operators of all Consumer Signal Boosters—new and
existing. Direct registration with the serving provider, rather than a third-party or the Commission, will
2 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(a)(1).
3 Properly certificated Consumer Signal Boosters must meet the Network Protection Standard. See Report and
at ¶¶ 57-76.
at ¶ 34.
5 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(a)(2).
enhance the ability of licensees to retain control of their networks. Direct registration also provides a
convenient opportunity for consumers to obtain licensee consent prior to operation; a completed
Consumer Signal Booster registration provides evidence of licensee consent to operation of the registered
booster. In addition, providers’ access to registration information should vastly improve the ability to
locate these devices in the case of interference.
In the event a consumer switches service providers, it must obtain consent from and register with
the new provider or cease operations. If a consumer purchases a Consumer Signal Booster for use in a
location where subscribers of multiple serving providers will access the device regularly, each such
subscriber must register the device with their provider. Consumers who purchase wireless service from
resellers must also register their boosters. Wireless providers must therefore establish a process for these
consumers to register either directly with the serving provider (i.e
., the underlying facilities-based
provider) or with the applicable reseller.
By March 1, 2014,
all providers who voluntarily consent to the use of Consumer Signal Boosters
on their networks must establish a free registration mechanism for their subscribers.6 Providers may not
charge a fee for registration. At a minimum, providers must collect (1) the name of the Consumer Signal
Booster owner and/or operator, if different individuals; (2) the make, model, and serial number of the
device; (3) the location of the device; and (4) the date of initial operation. Wireless providers may
determine how to collect such information and how to keep it up-to-date. Wireless providers must
develop their own registration processes to facilitate provider control and interference resolution.
Providers should collect only such information that is reasonably related to achieving these dual goals.
This approach adequately balances regulatory requirements with industry flexibility to implement them.
Providers that have not consented to the use of Consumer Signal Boosters by March 1, 2014, must
establish a free registration mechanism for their subscribers within 90 days of consenting to such use.
Access to Registration Information.
The Commission encouraged providers to share registration
information as necessary to address and remedy cases of interference.7 However, it must be ensured that
consumer privacy is protected when registration information is shared, as it is likely to include signal
booster operators’ personally identifiable information. To the extent providers share signal booster
registration information to address interference issues, they must protect the confidentiality of proprietary
information and comply with Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) requirements, as
necessary. Because this information is proprietary, only those with a legitimate need for the registration
information may have access to it. Therefore, a provider may share registration information with another
licensed wireless provider solely for the purpose of mitigating network interference caused by Consumer
Signal Boosters, including the ability to locate interfering boosters and perform associated outreach. The
Commission will require wireless licensees to share registration information with the Commission upon
request in cases to resolve interference issues that are brought to the Commission’s attention.
The Commission concluded that the public interest will be served by enabling the use of
Consumer Signal Boosters in the wireless radio service spectrum bands used for the provision of
subscriber-based services under parts 22 (Cellular), 24 (Broadband PCS), 27 (AWS-1, 700 MHz Lower
6 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(h).
7 See Report and Order
at ¶¶ 108-109.
A-E Blocks, and 700 MHz Upper C Block), and 90 (Specialized Mobile Radio) of this chapter.8
Consumer Signal Boosters will be installed by individuals with no technical expertise and are highly
portable, favoring their use in select bands. When subscriber-based services are offered in additional
bands in the future, the Commission can seek comment on how best to expand the signal booster
framework to accommodate such additional bands.
800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service Band
. The Commission determined that the public
interest will be served by permitting the use of Consumer Signal Boosters in the 800 MHz Specialized
Mobile Radio (SMR) band, once nationwide reconfiguration of the band is substantially completed.
Accordingly, the Commission directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security and Wireless
Telecommunications Bureaus to determine when the nationwide reconfiguration is sufficiently complete
to permit the use of Consumer Signal Boosters in the 800 MHz SMR band, and to issue a Public Notice
announcing the date Consumer Signal Boosters may be used in the band.
Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadcast Service 2.5 GHz Band
. The Commission
determined that the 2.5 GHz band contains legacy educational and commercial video systems that would
not be compatible with the use of signal boosters. Therefore, the Commission will not permit the use of
Consumer Signal Boosters in the BRS/EBS 2.5 GHz band at this time.
Secondary, Non-interfering Operations
Consumer Signal Booster operations are limited to secondary status.9 Consumer Signal Boosters
may operate only on a secondary, non-interference basis to primary services licensed for the frequency
bands on which they transmit, and to primary services licensed for the adjacent frequency bands that
might be affected by their transmissions. In the event that harmful interference does occur, upon request
of an FCC representative or a licensee experiencing harmful interference, a signal booster operator must
(i) cooperate in determining the source of the interference and (ii) if necessary, deactivate the signal
booster immediately, or as soon as practicable, if immediate deactivation is not possible.
Network Protection Standard
The Commission determined that the public interest will be served by requiring all Consumer
Signal Boosters to comply with a Network Protection Standard,10 which is a flexible set of technical
requirements that will facilitate the development of safe, economical signal boosters today, while
encouraging technological booster innovation going forward. As discussed in more detail below, under
the Network Protection Standard, all Consumer Signal Booster must: (1) comply with existing technical
parameters for the applicable spectrum band of operation; (2) automatically self-monitor certain
operations and shut down if not in compliance with the new technical rules; (3) automatically detect and
mitigate oscillations in the uplink and downlink bands; (4) power down or shut down automatically when
a device is not needed, such as when the device approaches the base station with which it is
communicating; (5) be designed so that these features cannot be easily defeated; and (6) incorporate
interference avoidance for wireless subsystems.
Existing Technical Parameters.
The Commission adopted the requirement that all
8 47 C.F.R § 20.21(a)(4).
9 47 C.F.R § 20.21(d).
10 47 C.F.R § 20.21(e). Please consult Section 20.21(e), which contains detailed specifications for complying with
the Network Protection Standard.
Consumer Signal Boosters must meet all applicable technical specifications for the relevant band(s) of
operation as they apply to mobile units (i.e.,
not base station technical specifications).11 Existing
technical rules set the “ceiling” for parameters such as power level, emission limitations, and frequency
tolerance; Consumer Signal Boosters which meet the Network Protection Standard cannot exceed the
power, emissions, and frequency tolerance levels set forth in the existing rules.
Anti-Oscillation and Automatic Self-Monitoring Features
. Under the new rules, Consumer Signal
Boosters must detect and mitigate oscillation (such as may result from insufficient isolation between the
antennas) in both the uplink and downlink bands.12 This safeguard is particularly important for
consumer-targeted devices where installation will be undertaken by individuals without the technical
expertise to identify and correct faulty installation. Under the Network Protection Standard, an
improperly installed Consumer Signal Booster that goes into oscillation will either stop the oscillation or
shut down before it can cause harmful interference to nearby wireless networks.
In conjunction with an anti-oscillation feature, Consumer Signal Boosters must have certain self-
monitoring features.13 Specifically, all Consumer Signal Boosters must monitor the device’s compliance
with applicable noise and gain limits. If the device is operating outside of these technical parameters, the
device must be capable of self-correcting or shutting itself down automatically. These features, when
combined with the additional safeguards adopted in this Report and Order
,14 will substantially minimize
the interference potential of Consumer Signal Boosters.
Power/Shut Down When Approaching Any Affected Base Station
. The Commission concluded
that harmful interference from Consumer Signal Boosters can be greatly minimized if the devices operate
only when they are needed to provide an adequate signal and cease operations when they are unnecessary.
Therefore, the Commission required a Consumer Signal Booster operating in a mobile environment to
power down or shut down as the device approaches the base station with which it is communicating.15
Further, because signal boosters operating at full power pose a substantial interference risk to any nearby
base station, not just the base station with which the booster is communicating, the Commission required
Consumer Signal Boosters to automatically power down or shut down as they approach any affected base
station. This safeguard will protect wireless networks by mitigating excess noise to base stations from
signal boosters operating at full power within close proximity.
Safeguards Cannot be Easily Defeated
. Each application for equipment certification of a
Consumer Signal Booster must contain an explanation of all measures taken to ensure that the technical
safeguards designed to inhibit harmful interference and protect wireless networks cannot be deactivated
by the user.16 Consumer Signal Boosters should not have user-accessible controls (e.g.,
switches, codes), which would allow a consumer to deactivate the device’s safeguards. Further, if a
Consumer Signal Booster casing is opened, an individual with basic technical skills should not be able to
defeat the device’s safeguards by re-soldering a connection, clipping a wire, or moving a switch.
11 See Report and Order
at ¶¶ 59-60.
12 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(5).
13 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(4).
14 See generally
47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e).
15 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(6).
16 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(2)(ii).
Alternatively, a manufacturer could prevent a consumer from tampering with a device by coating it with
epoxy or using tamper-proof screws for assembly. Each applicant must certify that it has taken measures
to ensure that these safeguards cannot be easily defeated.
. Pursuant to this safeguard, consumer boosters using unlicensed, e.g.,
15, or other frequency bands, for wireless transmissions between donor and server subsystems for their
internal operations, must employ interference avoidance methods to prevent interference from being
transmitted into authorized spectrum bands.17 This safeguard will further serve to mitigate the potential
for harmful interference from Consumer Signal Boosters and thus require all Consumer Signal Boosters
to incorporate this feature.
Wideband and Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters.
The Commission also adopted
technical specifications for two types of boosters -- Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters and Provider-
Specific Consumer Signal Boosters. Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters may operate on the frequencies
and in the market areas of multiple licensees. Because Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters operate
across multiple bands and in spectrum licensed to multiple wireless providers, these devices require tight
technical specifications to ensure they do not cause harmful interference in adjacent bands. The technical
specifications for Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters can be found at 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(8).
Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters are designed to operate only on a particular licensee(s)’s
frequencies and in that licensee(s)’s market areas. Thus, Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters
may only receive FCC equipment certification and may be operated only with the consent of the
licensee(s) whose frequencies are being amplified by the device. Accordingly, any application to the
FCC for equipment certification of a Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Booster must include a
certification, made under penalty of perjury (see
47 C.F.R. § 1.16), that the applicant has received the
consent of the relevant licensee(s) to manufacture the device. The technical specifications for Provider-
Specific Consumer Signal Boosters can be found at 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(9). The Commission
determined that these two approaches satisfy the requirements of the Network Protection Standard and
will result in safe, economical Consumer Signal Boosters, which do not harm wireless networks.
. Any entity seeking FCC equipment certification for a Consumer Signal
Booster which does not meet the enumerated safeguards contained in the Network Protection Standard
may request a determination of “equivalent protection” from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.18
Such requests will be placed on Public Notice and interested parties will have an opportunity to comment.
If the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau determines that the proponent has shown equivalent
protection that satisfies the Network Protection Standard, the proponent may then seek equipment
certification from the Office of Engineering and Technology.
Future Signal Booster Capabilities.
The Commission directed the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau to release a Public Notice no later than March 1, 2016, seeking comment on additional
technologies that may enhance the interference-mitigating features of signal boosters already required by
the FCC rules. Issues to be addressed in the Public Notice should include, but are not limited to, the
performance and effectiveness of new Consumer Signal Boosters and whether additional safeguards can
be implemented using existing network infrastructure, or whether these features require modifications to
wireless network operations, the effectiveness of the registration system, and the effectiveness of the
FCC’s enforcement efforts. The Public Notice will serve as a starting point for issues that will inform
17 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(7).
18 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(e)(10).
whether further action in this area is warranted.
Labeling and the Use of Approved Antennas, Cables and/or
In order to receive authorization to operate a Consumer Signal Booster, subscribers must also use
a device that is appropriately labeled by the manufacturer consistent with the Commission’s rules.19 In
addition, a consumer may operate a Consumer Signal Boosters only with approved antennas, cables,
and/or coupling devices (collectively “special accessories”) as specified by the manufacturer of the
Consumer Signal Booster.20 This requirement will protect wireless networks from interference and will
protect consumers from levels of RF exposure in excess of the RF exposure guidelines.
Safeguards Must be Enabled and Operating
A subscriber’s Consumer Signal Booster authorization is contingent on use of a Consumer Signal
Booster with all safeguards enabled and operating.21 If a subscriber disables or deactivates any safeguard
incorporated in the Consumer Signal Booster, it will void the subscriber’s authorization to operate the
De Minimis, Third-Party Use
The Commission concluded that the public interest is best served if consumers have a variety of
choices to meet their individual communications needs. The Commission recognized, however, that use
of wideband Consumer Signal Boosters (i.e.,
boosters which can be used with multiple service providers)
will not necessarily be limited to the purchaser of the device. Therefore, the Commission found it in the
public interest to authorize de minimis, i.e.,
occasional, incidental use of a Consumer Signal Booster by a
third party under the license of the third party’s wireless provider and modified providers’ licenses to
permit such use.22 The Commission stated that the de minimis
authorization would not extend to routine,
continued use of the signal booster by a third party (e.g.,
housemates or family members with different
wireless providers). Thus, if a third party intends to use a Consumer Signal Booster on a regular,
sustained basis, the third party must seek its provider’s consent to do so. The benefits associated with
authorizing such occasional, incidental uses for consumers outweigh the costs of such use.
The Commission determined that well-designed, well-made signal boosters will serve the public
interest by promoting public safety. While signal boosters can affect E911 location accuracy for network-
based E911 solutions in certain limited circumstances, the Network Protection Standard will reduce these
instances by limiting the use of signal boosters to areas with limited or no coverage, such as rural areas
and dead zones within covered areas and indoors. Consumers will benefit from using signal boosters to
place and complete their emergency calls in rural areas and indoors, even if the location accuracy is
affected in some cases, because absent a booster, consumers would lack any access to emergency services
in these areas.
19 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(f). Further details about the labeling requirements are summarized below in Section C-1 of this
20 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(a)(3).
21 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(a)(6).
22 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(b).
. Knowing that signal boosters may affect the accuracy of E911 location information,
consumers can determine whether a signal booster is an appropriate choice for their individual
circumstances. Therefore, manufacturers must label all consumer signal boosters with the following
language: WARNING. E911 location information may not be provided or may be inaccurate for calls
served by using this device.23
Licensees must continue to comply with current E911 location accuracy regulations.
Industrial Signal Boosters
The Commission defined Industrial Signal Boosters as all signal boosters other than Consumer
Signal Boosters. The classification of Industrial Signal Boosters covers a wide variety of devices that are
designed for installation by licensees or qualified installers. Industrial Signal Boosters may be fixed or
Industrial Signal Boosters include large, high powered devices intended for professional or
enterprise use. These devices tend to have more expansive functionality than Consumer Signal Boosters
and the output power and gain for Industrial Signal Boosters are typically multiple times the power and
gain of Consumer Signal Boosters. These devices are designed to serve multiple users simultaneously
and cover larger areas such as stadiums, shopping malls, office buildings, tunnels, and campuses.
Industrial Signal Boosters also include signal boosters deployed in the Private Land Mobile Radio
(PLMR) bands by PLMR licensees or those with the consent of PLMR licensees.
Industrial Signal Boosters also include devices that are tailored to serve individual subscribers.
Providers may continue to use all types of signal boosters to serve their subscribers’ needs. However, if a
provider allows an individual subscriber to operate a signal booster that does not meet Consumer Signal
Boosters requirements, i.e
., the device does not include the required interference safeguards, the provider
must install and configure such a device for its subscriber.
The Commission concluded that it will continue to require Industrial Signal Booster operators to
have a valid FCC license or express licensee consent prior to operating an Industrial Signal Booster and
explicitly codified this requirement in the FCC rules.24 Express licensee consent may be reflected, for
example, by “a letter, email or other record sent from a licensee or agent of a licensee to an operator,
owner, or installer of [an Industrial Signal Booster] acknowledging that the [Industrial Signal Booster]
will retransmit the specified frequency bands of the licensee.”
The coordination process between the Industrial Signal Booster operator and wireless licensees
provides licensees with sufficient control over these devices to comply with the requirements of Section
310(d) of the Act. Industrial Signal Booster operators must have express licensee consent prior to
operating a signal booster. In addition, Industrial Signal Boosters will only be authorized on a secondary,
non-interference basis and thus must be shut down in the event the device causes harmful interference to
the communications of any primary licensed service.25
Consistent with current practice, the Commission will not limit the use of Industrial Signal
Boosters to specific spectrum bands; such boosters are typically professionally installed and closely
23 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(f).
24 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(c).
25 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(d).
coordinated with affected licensees, thereby limiting the potential for interference even in bands
undergoing reconfiguration or in areas where the deployment of multiple technologies and services may
be the norm.
The Commission adopted a labeling requirement to aid consumers in distinguishing between
Consumer and Industrial Signal Boosters.26 A prominently displayed label on a device’s packaging will
immediately inform consumers whether the device is suitable for personal use in a home or vehicle setting
or whether a device is designed for large-scale commercial uses. Providing appropriate consumer
disclosures on signal booster labels and in product manuals and on-line marketing materials will educate
consumers about which boosters to purchase, their registration requirements, and their obligation to turn
off the booster if it is causing interference. Absent an appropriate label, a consumer will be unable to
distinguish between a Consumer Signal Booster, which is appropriate for their use, and an Industrial
Signal Booster, which is inappropriate for their use. An appropriate label will also inform consumers
about the potential effect of signal boosters on E911 location accuracy. The Commissioned noted
however, that if a device will have no effect on E911 communications, such a consumer notification is
All signal boosters, except for Part 90 signal boosters,27 marketed on or after March 1, 2014, must
include the following advisories (1) in on-line point-of-sale marketing materials, (2) in any print or on-
line owner’s manual and installation instructions, (3) on the outside packaging of the device, and (4) on a
label affixed to the device:
Required Label for all Consumer Signal Boosters:
This is a CONSUMER device.
BEFORE USE, you MUST REGISTER THIS DEVICE with your wireless provider and
have your provider’s consent. Most wireless providers consent to the use of signal
boosters. Some providers may not consent to the use of this device on their network. If
you are unsure, contact your provider.
You MUST operate this device with approved antennas and cables as specified by the
manufacturer. Antennas MUST be installed at least 20 cm (8 inches) from any person.
You MUST cease operating this device immediately if requested by the FCC or a
licensed wireless service provider.
WARNING. E911 location information may not be provided or may be inaccurate for
calls served by using this device.
26 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(f).
27 Different labeling requirements apply to Part 90 signal boosters. Those requirements are discussed further below.
Required Label for all Industrial Signal Boosters:
WARNING. This is NOT a CONSUMER device. It is designed for installation by FCC
LICENSEES and QUALIFIED INSTALLERS. You MUST have an FCC LICENSE or
express consent of an FCC Licensee to operate this device. Unauthorized use may result
in significant forfeiture penalties, including penalties in excess of $100,000 for each
A Consumer Signal Booster label may contain an acknowledgement that particular provider(s)
have given their consent for all consumers to use the device. Such an acknowledgement would be
inserted prior to, “Some wireless providers may not consent to the use of this device on their network. If
you are unsure, contact your provider.” The remaining language of the advisory shall remain the same.
RF Exposure Requirements
The Commission adopted a new rule, 47 C.F.R. § 20.2, to cross-reference the RF exposure
requirements in Sections 1.1307, 2.1091, and 2.1093 of the Commission’s rules. The Commission also
required all Consumer Signal Boosters to be sold together with antennas, cables, and/or coupling devices
that meet the requirements addressed in the Report and Order
.28 Also, all Consumer Signal Boosters
must be sold with user manuals which specify the special accessories that meet the requirements of this
section and must be labeled to indicate that the device may only be operated using approved special
accessories as specified by the manufacturer of the Consumer Signal Booster. The labeling requirements
for subscriber transceiver antennas in Table 1 of Section 1.1307(b)(1) also apply to these types of signal
Treatment of Existing Signal Boosters
The Commission will permit consumers to operate existing (nonconforming) signal boosters
provided they (1) have the consent of their serving provider, and (2) register their booster with that
provider.29 A subscriber must obtain its provider’s consent, by phone or email for example, to use an
existing signal booster on its provider’s network. If a consumer does not have the consent of its service
provider to use an existing booster, he or she must immediately cease operation until consent is obtained.
Where a signal booster operator has consent to operate the device, the operator must also register the
booster with their service provider. Wireless providers who choose to consent to Consumer Signal
Booster use have until March 1, 2014, to establish a free registration mechanism for their subscribers.
And after establishing a registration mechanism, providers will need to advise subscribers of their
registration process. The Commission will require consumers to register their existing boosters within 90
days of being notified by their service provider of the registration process. Registration of existing
boosters will ensure that service providers and the Commission can efficiently identify, investigate, and
resolve interference complaints should they arise. No licensee is obligated to consent to the use of an
existing signal booster on its network. However, where a licensee does consent to the use of an existing
signal booster, the licensee can determine whether such use should continue.
As of the release date of the Report and Order,
the Commission no longer accepts applications
28 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(a)(3).
29 R&O at ¶ 127.
for equipment certification of Consumer or Industrial Signal Boosters that do not comply with the new
rules and will cease certification of devices that do not comply with the new rules.30 Further, on or after
March 1, 2014,
all Consumer and Industrial Signal Boosters sold and marketed in the United States must
meet the above-mentioned new requirements.31 The Commission believes this is a reasonable timeframe
to allow manufacturers to develop and the Commission to certify devices that meet the new rules and will
result in an orderly transition to better signal boosters. Manufacturers and retailers may no longer sell
non-conforming signal boosters on or after March 1, 2014. However, consumers and others may use non-
conforming signal boosters with the consent of their wireless provider.
The Enforcement Bureau investigates, tracks, and resolves complaints of
signal booster interference, has taken enforcement action where warranted, and will continue to do so. To
the extent additional information may be necessary to track and identify patterns of interference involving
particular booster manufacturers or models affecting multiple wireless provider networks, the
Enforcement Bureau will continue to leverage the expertise of the Commission’s field engineers to obtain
the relevant data. The Commission will closely monitor any complaints involving new Consumer Signal
Boosters, and will take appropriate enforcement action against operators, retailers, manufacturers, or other
entities that violate the signal booster rules.
. The rules adopted in the Report and Order
created a new framework for the
manufacture, sale, and authorization of signal boosters and an aggressive consumer outreach campaign
will promote compliance with these new rules. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, in
connection with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, will conduct a consumer outreach campaign
regarding the new regulatory regime for signal boosters. In addition, the Commission directed the
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to issue a Consumer Advisory regarding new booster rules.
This Advisory, among other things, will indicate that subscribers must turn off a booster if they receive a
request to do so from the FCC or any wireless provider.
Signal Boosters for Public Safety and Private Land Mobile Radio Service
Operations under Part 90
The Commission also took a number of actions regarding signal boosters used in public safety
and Private Land Mobile Radio Service operations under Part 90 of its rules. These actions are
summarized here and discussed more fully below.
Clarified the rules to make it clear that non-licensees who seek to operate signal boosters
must obtain the consent of the licensee[s] whose signals they intend to amplify;
Adopted a registration requirement for existing and future Class B signal booster
Permitted Part 90 licensees to deploy Class A (narrowband) signal boosters in both fixed and
mobile environments provided that they do not cause interference to other licensed services in
the band. Prohibited mobile deployment of Class B (wideband) signal boosters, but allowed
fixed deployment of Class B signal boosters;
30 Report and Order
at ¶ 133.
31 47 C.F.R. § 20.21(g).
Required system integrators and installers to consider the potential adverse effects of the
increased noise floor on PLMR systems and established additional emission limits to reduce
the interference potential of signal boosters;
Updated equipment authorization process to differentiate between Class A and Class B signal
boosters and testing procedures; and
Established labeling requirements to promote compliance with the rules.
Authorization for Part 90 Signal Boosters
The Commission amended Section 90.219 of its rules. It found that allowing third parties to
operate signal boosters with express licensee consent serves the public interest by promoting reliable
communications, particularly reliable public safety communications. The Commission concluded that the
public interest is best served if Part 90 PLMR licensees and others with licensee consent continue to be
able to install and operate Part 90 PLMR signal boosters to meet their communications needs, particularly
where the devices facilitate public safety communications. Accordingly, PLMR signal boosters may be
operated in the Part 90 bands so long as the operator has a license or the consent of the licensee whose
signals are intended to be amplified. Revisions to Section 90.219 are intended to clarify the authorization
process for signal boosters without fundamental changes to existing practices.
Part 90 Signal Booster Classifications and Operational Restrictions
Part 90 Signal Booster Classifications
The Commission determined that it is in the public interest to maintain both classes of signal
boosters currently specified in Part 90: wideband signal boosters (Class B) and those that can be adjusted
to amplify a narrow bandwidth (Class A). There is a need for both wideband and narrowband signal
booster solutions to meet different deployment scenarios. Properly designed Class A and Class B signal
boosters can be effectively deployed without a significant increased potential for harmful interference.
The Commission amended the rules to reflect that signal boosters defined as Class A must have a
passband per channel no larger than 75 kHz.32 This bright line test will reduce confusion in the
marketplace as to whether a particular signal booster is a Class A or Class B device. The Commission
believed that a 75 kHz passband per channel is sufficient to accommodate the group delay issue
associated with Class A signal boosters. In the equipment authorization process, the Commission will
distinguish whether signal booster equipment types can meet this passband requirement to determine
whether they qualify as Class A or Class B signal boosters.
In addition, the Commission adopted a definition to distinguish signal boosters from signal
amplifiers.33 A signal amplifier is a device that is physically attached at one end to a radio and at the
other to an external antenna to achieve higher power, whereas a signal booster is not physically attached
to the radio unit.
Part 90 Class B Signal Booster Operation
The Commission modified its current rule to allow Part 90 licensees and those operating with
licensee consent to deploy Class B signal boosters both in confined areas and outdoors.34 Eliminating
32 47 C.F.R. § 90.219(c).
47 C.F.R. § 90.7.
34 47 C.F.R. § 90.219(d)(4).
Class B signal boosters or substantially restricting their use could harm U.S. manufacturers and public
safety entities that rely on these devices in both enclosed and outdoor environments. As discussed further
below, however, the Commission determined that Class B mobile signal boosters will be prohibited as of
November 1, 2014.
Part 90 Class B Signal Booster Registration.
The Commission adopted a registration
requirement for all existing and future Class B signal booster installations.35 Class B signal booster
registration will be a valuable tool to help resolve interference should it occur and it will impose only a
minimal burden on the operators of signal boosters. A registration requirement will provide an additional
source of information and control for licensees. By creating a permanent record of all Class B signal
booster installations in a searchable database, licensees will be able to electronically search for signal
booster installations if they experience interference or other degradations to their system. This will allow
licensees to identify and shut down devices causing harmful interference as necessary. Part 90 PLMR
licensees are well acquainted with the interference resolution process as these licensees operate on shared
frequencies. A registration database is thus particularly well suited for operators in Part 90 PLMR
The Part 90 PLMR signal booster registration database should allow licensees experiencing
interference to identify Class B signal boosters that have been deployed in the area and provide a point of
contact for each deployment to investigate interference. Thus, at a minimum, registration information
shall include the following: (1) operating range of the Class B signal booster; (2) the physical location of
the signal booster; and (3) contact information for the individual(s) responsible for the signal booster’s
The Commission delegated authority to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to design and
manage the online registration tool, including the ability to seek additional information or add features
that the Bureau may deem necessary. The Commission will maintain the Part 90 PLMR registration
database. Part 90 PLMR licensees are well-accustomed to using the Commission’s databases to provide
the Commission with information about their service areas, tower locations, contact information, etc.
Class B signal booster registration will employ a similar process. Further, an FCC-based system should
provide licensees with access to information necessary to resolve interference; a licensee-based system
would not sufficiently aggregate such information.
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will perform outreach regarding this registration
requirement and will release a Public Notice detailing the specifics of the registration process once it is
available. The FCC will require licensees and signal booster operators to register existing Class B signal
booster installations with the Commission by November 1, 2014. This period will allow sufficient time
for public outreach, website development, and regulatory approval of this process. After November 1,
2014, operation of an existing, unregistered Class B signal booster will be unauthorized and subject to
enforcement action. Any new Class B signal booster installed after November 1, 2014 must be registered
prior to operation. To encourage compliance with this new requirement, registration will be free of cost
to the operator and/or licensee.
Part 90 Mobile Signal Boosters
The Commission will permit Part 90 licensees to deploy Class A signal boosters in a mobile
environment provided that they do not cause interference to other licensed services. If a Class A signal
35 47 C.F.R. § 90.219(d)(5).
booster causes interference, it must be shut down. While all signal boosters have the potential to cause
interference if they are poorly made, poorly installed, or malfunction, Class A boosters have a lower
potential to cause interference because of their narrow passbands. That is, if a signal booster is
improperly installed and causes interference, a Class A device will affect fewer channels than a Class B
device. In addition, it may be easier to identify the operating licensee of a Class A device by comparing
the operating range of the device (using test equipment) to a list of licensees in that area over the relevant
The Commission concluded, however, that Class B signal boosters may not be deployed in a
mobile environment on Part 90 PLMR frequencies because a Class B device operating in a mobile
environment has the potential to affect hundreds of other licensees’ channels. Some entities have
deployed Class B signal boosters in vehicles. The FCC finds that the potential for interference outweighs
the benefits of such devices, especially because there are alternatives, such as Class A boosters and
vehicular repeaters that pose less potential for interference. Licensees who are currently operating mobile
Class B signal boosters must transition their operations to alternate, permissible devices by November 1,
Technical and Other Issues for Part 90 PLMR Signal Boosters
Emission Limits for Part 90 Signal Boosters
. Device specifications for Part 90 signal boosters are
contained in Section 90.219(e) of the Commission’s rules. The Commission will require both Class A
and Class B signal boosters to suppress spurious, i.e.,
unintended, emissions such that they do not exceed
–13 dBm within any 100 kHz measurement bandwidth. This level of suppression is consistent with out-
of-band emission limits used for other Part 90 transmitters and should reduce the level of spurious
emissions generated by signal booster devices. The Commission also limited the noise figure of a signal
booster not to exceed 9 dB in either direction.
The Commission will require Part 90 PLMR signal boosters to suppress emissions outside of the
service band for which the operator is authorized and to deploy signal boosters with the minimum
passband necessary to achieve the desired communications. The Commission amended rules to make it
clear that operators may not amplify service bands where they do not have a license or licensee consent.
The FCC also prohibited a single Class B signal booster device from amplifying both commercial
services (such as Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio (ESMR) and Cellular Radiotelephone) and Part 90
Land Mobile and Public Safety Services. This new requirement should address the situation in the 800
MHz spectrum where both subscriber-based systems and PLMR systems operate on adjacent bands, and
the same signal booster is used to amplify both. Because signal boosters amplify thermal noise, as well as
the desired signals (and add random noise of their own), the Commission believes that limiting the
passband of devices to the intended service band of the licensee will further limit the interference
potential of the device. This does not apply to distributed antenna systems (DAS) because they involve a
higher level of design and implementation to address the needs of each service. While this requirement
may make it difficult for a licensee to install one device in an enclosed structure capable of boosting a
wide range of operators, the Commission believes it is needed to reduce the risk of interfering with
licensees in other services.
The Commission determined that it would be beneficial for system integrators and installers to
consider the potential adverse effects of increased noise floor on PLMR systems. However, because of
the wide range of deployment scenarios in congested and uncongested areas, the Commission found it
would be difficult to adopt a uniform noise limit for all Part 90 bands. Instead, it adopted a rule requiring
“good engineering practice” to be used when installing signal boosters.36 This flexible approach will
allow installers to consider the spectral environment of each deployment to determine whether an
increased noise floor could interfere with nearby noise-limited services. Compliance with these levels will
be deemed satisfaction of the good engineering practice requirement. Specifically, in a 10 kHz
measurement bandwidth: (1) the ERP of intermodulation products within the signal booster passband
should not exceed –30 dBm; (2) the ERP of noise within the signal booster passband should not exceed –
43 dBm; and (3) the ERP of noise on spectrum more than 1 MHz outside of the signal booster passband
should not exceed –70 dBm.
Signal booster power limits
. The Commission determined that the limit of 5 watts ERP per
channel continues to be appropriate for both classes of signal boosters used on Part 90 PLMR channels.
Also, the 5 watts ERP limit will be applied to each channel for which the signal booster is designed to
amplify, regardless of whether it is a Class A or Class B signal booster. The Commission will limit signal
booster operations to only the power necessary to achieve the intended communications. If licensees need
more than 5 watts ERP per channel for a particular deployment, they can use other allowances in Part 90,
including obtaining an additional authorization for a repeater or base station. All PLMR signal boosters
are required to comply with the RF exposure requirements of Sections 1.1307, 2.1091, and 2.1093 for
fixed and mobile exposure conditions. Many Part 90 mobile radios could otherwise qualify for the higher
occupational exposure limits, but the Commission will require that all signal boosters comply with the
more restrictive general population exposure limits given that they may commonly be in locations
proximate to the general public who would be unaware of their exposure.
Equipment Authorization and Labeling for Part 90 Signal Boosters
. The Commission concluded that it is necessary to test signal booster
devices with multiple signals to ensure they function properly under a variety of conditions that could
occur in deployment by PLMR entities and directed the Office of Engineering and Technology to update
its Knowledge Database to reflect the testing procedure to ensure that approved devices meet the
technical requirements adopted in the Report and Order
. In addition, devices submitted for equipment
authorization should be properly categorized as Class A, Class B, or amplifier.
The Commission established a two-step process for equipment authorization to allow time for
manufacturers to design and obtain equipment authorization for signal boosters that meet the
requirements adopted in this Report and Order
. Specifically, as of the release date of this Report and
the Commission will no longer accept applications for equipment certification of Industrial Signal
Boosters, including Part 90 signal boosters, that do not comply with the new rules and will cease
certification of devices that do not comply with the new rules. Further, starting on March 1, 2014, all Part
90 signal boosters sold and marketed in the United States must meet the new requirements adopted in the Report and Order
. This is a reasonable timeframe to allow manufacturers to develop and the
Commission to certify devices that meet the new rules and will result in an orderly transition to better
The Commission imposed new requirements for labeling Part 90 signal
boosters and for and Part 90 signal Booster operating manuals, in order to increase rule compliance and
remind signal booster operators about proper implementation of the devices. Thus, all Part 90 signal
36 47 C.F.R. § 90.219(d)(6).
boosters marketed or sold on or after March 1, 2014, must include the following language:37
WARNING. This is NOT a CONSUMER device. It is designed for installation by FCC
LICENSEES and QUALIFIED INSTALLERS. You MUST have an FCC LICENSE or express
consent of an FCC Licensee to operate this device. You MUST register Class B signal boosters
(as defined in 47 CFR 90.219) online at www.fcc.gov/signal-boosters/registration
use may result in significant forfeiture penalties, including penalties in excess of $100,000 for
each continuing violation.
In addition, the Commission will require labels and operating manuals for Part 90 signal boosters
to indicate whether the booster is a Class A or Class B device. These disclosures must be included: (1) in
on-line point-of-sale marketing materials, (2) in any print or on-line owner’s manual and installation
instructions, (3) on the outside packaging of the device, and (4) on a label affixed to the device.
800 MHz Rebanding
Under the new rules, signal boosters may only operate within the service bands for which they are
authorized and the Commission will not issue equipment certification for single signal boosters that
amplify both commercial services (e.g.,
ESMR, Cellular Radiotelephone) and Part 90 Land Mobile and
Public Safety Services. Thus, once rebanding is complete, a single wideband signal booster will no
longer be able to amplify both subscriber-based ESMR and public safety frequencies within the same
passband. Changes to the technical requirements for Class B signal boosters, coupled with registration
and rebanding, will reduce the instances of signal booster interference going forward. The approach
adopted in the Report and Order
is an appropriate balance between allowing signal booster operation now
and in the future, without creating a formal licensing and coordination process to address signal booster
operations in bands where public safety and non-public safety entities operate in adjacent spectrum.
Treatment of Existing Part 90 Signal Boosters
The Commission determined that the public interest will be best served by permitting the
continued use of existing Part 90 signal boosters provided operators: (1) have a license or the consent of
the licensee whose signals are intended to be amplified by the device, and (2) Class B signal boosters are
registered with the Commission. If a Part 90 signal booster operator does not have consent to use an
existing booster, it may not do so. In addition, the Enforcement Bureau will rigorously investigate any
complaint of harmful interference associated with unauthorized signal booster use.
Local Zoning Laws
Local governments are not preempted from adopting zoning laws requiring the installation of
signal boosters in buildings to facilitate communications by public safety first responders. However, such
signal boosters must comply with all Commission’s rules applicable to signal boosters, including the new
rules adopted in the Report and Order
The Report and Order
, FCC 13-21, was adopted February 20, 2013 and released February 20,
2013. Final rules adopted in the Report and Order
are effective on May 13, 2013, except for
amendments to §§ 1.1307(b)(1), 20.3, 20.21(a)(2), 20.21(a)(5), 20.21(e)(2), 20.21(e)(8)(i)(G),
20.21(e)(9)(i)(H), 20.21(f), 20.21(h), 22.9, 24.9, 27.9, 90.203(q), 90.219(b)(1)(i), 90.219(d)(5), and
37 47 C.F.R. § 90.219(e)(5).
90.219(e)(5), which contain new or modified information collection requirements that require approval by
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), WILL
BECOME EFFECTIVE after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing such
approval and the relevant effective date.