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Promoting Expanded Opportunities for Radio Experimentation and Market Trials


Today, the Commission takes steps to promote innovation and efficiency in spectrum use in our Part 5 Experimental Radio Service (ERS). For many years, the ERS has provided fertile ground for testing innovative ideas that have led to new services and new devices for all sectors of the economy. We propose to leverage the power of experimental radio licensing to accelerate the rate at which these ideas transform from prototypes to consumer devices and services. Our goal is to inspire researchers to dream, discover and deliver the innovations that push the boundaries of the broadband ecosystem. The resulting advancements in devices and services available to the American public and greater spectrum efficiency over the long term will promote economic growth, global competitiveness, and a better way of life for all Americans.

We target six areas in which we propose to provide increased opportunities for experimentation and innovation. In particular, we propose to: (1) create new opportunities for universities and researchers to use a wide variety of radio frequencies for experimentation under a broad research license that eliminates the need to obtain prior authorization before conducting individual experiments; (2) empower researchers to conduct tests in specified geographic locations with pre-authorized boundary conditions through the creation of new “innovation zones”; (3) promote advancement in the development of medical radio devices by creating a medical experimental authorization that would be available to qualified hospitals, Veterans Administration (VA) facilities, and other medical institutions; (4) broaden
opportunities for market trials by revising and consolidating our rules; (5) promote greater overall experimentation by consolidating and streamlining our existing rules and procedures; and (6) open new opportunities for experimentation by making targeted modifications to our rules and procedures.

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