The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is leading several important initiatives and proceedings, a few of which are highlighted below.
The FCC has established rules to ensure that people with hearing aids and cochlear implants are able to able to use a wide selection of mobile wireless handsets without experiencing interference (Docket No. 07-250). Each year, mobile wireless service providers and handset manufacturers provide the Commission with information regarding the hearing aid compatibility of devices they offer.
The FCC is gathering information on the speeds, performance, and coverage of mobile broadband network.
The FCC has proposed the creation of a fund, as part of its reform of the Universal Service program, that would provide support for improving the coverage of 3G and 4G mobile wireless networks in areas of the country where 3G networks are currently unavailable (Docket No. 10-208).
The FCC seeks to promote competition in the mobile wireless industry for the benefit of consumers through various policies, including its review of wireless mergers and spectrum license transactions, as well as through its annual report and assessment of mobile wireless competition.
The FCC recognizes that it is important for mobile consumers to have coverage whereever they may go. The FCC has taken steps to ensure that mobile wireless customers can roam and automatically receive service from another provider’s network when they are outside of the area covered by their provider’s network.
The FCC is working to facilitate the development and deployment of well-designed signal boosters, which are part of the solution to address coverage gaps (Docket No. 10-4).
The FCC is taking steps to make more spectrum available for mobile wireless services and ensure that existing spectrum bands are being used efficiently. The National Broadband Plan recommended making available an additional 500 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband.
The FCC has launched various initiatives related to texting or text messaging. In particular, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has sought comment on a petition related to the regulatory classification of text messaging services (Docket No. 08-7).
In order to protect critical public safety communications and wireless broadband services, FCC rules prohibit the use of wireless microphones or similar devices in the 700 MHz Band after June 12, 2010. The 700 MHz Band - between 698 MHz and 806 MHz - is now reserved for use only by public safety groups, such as police, fire and emergency services, and commercial providers of wireless broadband services. Wireless microphone use on tv channels outside of the 700 MHz Band may continue.