April 14, 2017 - 11:15 am
By Julius Knapp | Chief, Office of Engineering & Technology

The Commission's experimental licensing program has played a key role throughout the years in the process of developing innovative new products and services. This new type of experimental license allows greater flexibility for parties—including universities, research labs, health care facilities, and manufacturers of radio frequency equipment— to develop new technologies and services while protecting incumbent services against harmful interference.

Today, we are pleased to announce that our experimental licensing system can now accept applications for program licenses. Parties may apply for an experimental program license using the existing Form 442 application for experimental licenses at https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/forms/442Dashboard.cfm. Once approved, licensees may go on the new "Experiments Notification System" website and begin registering new program experiments. The website is available at https://apps2.fcc.gov/ELSExperiments/pages/login.htm. The program license registration system continues the FCC's commitment to encouraging research and development.

Each year, the Office of Engineering and Technology typically grants more than 2,000 experimental licenses. Many of the services and technologies deployed today were first tested under the experimental licensing program. In fact, many experimental licenses are currently supporting work looking towards the introduction of next-generation 5G services.

The Commission previously revised the experimental licensing rules to provide greater flexibility to conduct experiments through new "program licenses." The program licenses are designed to streamline the process for institutions that regularly file for experimental applications such as universities, R&D development companies, and medical institutions and also conduct a large portion of their experiments within geographic areas under their control. This new program licenses also provide for "Innovation Zones", geographic areas that the Commission can define and make available for experiments.

Of course, we extend our gratitude to the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and the University of Colorado, Boulder which conducted beta trials of the system and made many helpful suggestions.

We look forward to the submittal of applications for the new program experimental licenses and stand ready to answer any questions and assist parties to make this process flow smoothly.