Public Knowledge Commends FCC Action To Promote New Wireless Technologies

Agency moves to ensure both incumbents and new service providers share the responsibility of mitigating interference.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Policy Statement to promote a balanced and comprehensive approach to spectrum management. Before this step, any new wireless service had the burden to prove it will not cause any harmful interference to existing services in any potential situation, no matter how unlikely the situation or how poorly designed the existing service. As a result, wireless systems built to work decades ago on outdated assumptions make it increasingly difficult to expand and intensify wireless use in the way we need to meet our ever-growing demand for better mobile services and better Wi-Fi.

The Policy Statement recognizes that ensuring that both new service providers and spectrum incumbents can operate in our increasingly complex radiofrequency environment requires all aspects of our telecommunications system to share the responsibility of mitigating interference. New entrants must still show that they will not cause harmful interference, but existing services must expect that old receivers designed for a quieter world may need to be upgraded to modern standards. Additionally, objections must be based on real-world conditions rather than ideal laboratory performance or unlikely worst case scenarios. This will dramatically speed up the process of approving new wireless uses, and effectively make more spectrum available for everyone.

Public Knowledge applauds the Commission for this important effort to promote a more balanced approach to managing our nation’s spectrum resources.

The following can be attributed to Kathleen Burke, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Today, legacy systems too often prevent innovation because they rely on outdated assumptions and have not been upgraded to reflect the current environment, limiting our ability to make full use of our spectrum resources. For far too long, our approach to new technology has focused solely on the new systems without any thought to how incumbent systems can make more room on our spectrum airwaves.

“Upgrading outdated systems and equipment to increase spectrum access is one of the most overlooked aspects of spectrum management – presenting a prime opportunity for re-evaluating our policies in light of technological advancements. This new policy statement embraces a fair approach to managing our spectrum resources by finally adopting the principles that minimizing harmful interference is a mutual obligation of band entrants and incumbents and that no spectrum user has a guarantee of zero interference.”

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at or 405-249-9435.