Signal boosters are devices that hold great potential to improve wireless coverage to areas with poor signal levels. For example, signal boosters can be placed in a home or car to provide increased signal strength for cell phones. When these devices are properly installed, they can help consumers, wireless service providers, and public safety first responders by extending reliable service to areas that would otherwise have weak signals such as tunnels, subways, inside buildings and in rural and underserved areas. Well-designed signal boosters hold great potential to empower consumers in rural and underserved areas to improve their wireless coverage in their homes, at their jobs, and when they travel by car, recreational vehicle, or boat.
Although signal boosters hold great promise to improve wireless coverage, malfunctioning and improperly designed or installed signal boosters can interfere with wireless networks and cause interference to a range of communication services, including emergency and 911 calls.
Several parties have filed Petitions seeking clarification of or changes to the FCC’s rules to address the proper use and regulation of these devices. In January 2010, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on these various Petitions. In April 2011, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on how best to facilitate the development and deployment of well-designed signal boosters.
On February 20, 2013, the FCC released a Report and Order 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. Information about these rules and policies are available on the FCC's signal boosters website.