In February 2013, the FCC issued a Report and Order outlining new standards for consumer signal boosters. These guidelines had been developed following a lot of consultation with booster manufacturers and wireless network providers, and they were slightly amended further in September 2014.
The new rules went into effect May 2014, so this February, the FCC asked for feedback as to how the new system was working out. The news is great! After two years, the four major nationwide cell carriers are very positive about consumer signal boosters.
Verizon told the FCC that signal boosters are incredibly popular:
“Verizon has over 10,000 registered consumer signal booster users, and that number has more than doubled in the last year. Any customers that want to purchase a consumer signal booster to enhance coverage in rural or other areas may now choose from multiple booster models designed to work on their service provider’s network.”
And those thousands of boosters are working out great:
“Prior to adoption of the current rules, Verizon and others cited numerous examples of interference to wireless and public safety networks caused by poorly manufactured or malfunctioning signal boosters. But the consumer signal booster design requirements adopted by the Commission, which were initially developed by a group of wireless carriers and booster manufacturers, have all but eliminated the interference problems caused by signal boosters manufactured prior to the rules taking effect. Indeed, Verizon has experienced no significant booster-related interference issues since 2014.”
“Those rules are working as intended to make signal boosters available to customers that need them while protecting wireless networks from interference.”
“T-Mobile has strongly supported rules that would protect networks from interference but, at the same time, allow for the development and use of a variety of types of signal boosters. The Commission’s adoption of this approach appears to be a success. The lack of any known serious widespread incidents demonstrates that the process has worked well and generally prevented poorly designed consumer devices from entering the market, while making signal boosters widely available and easily usable by consumers.”
AT&T’s comments were short:
“AT&T has voluntarily consented to allow all listed consumer signal boosters to operate on its network. AT&T has not separately denied consent or is not separately reviewing any consumer signal booster models.”
Sprint outlined their support for well-designed signal boosters and the straightforward process they use to register them:
“Sprint remains supportive of the Commission’s initiative to bring well-designed signal boosters to market. Properly designed and installed signal boosters can aid wireless users by expanding the usability of wireless networks in areas of poor signal coverage, while improperly designed signal boosters can cause significant harmful interference to the users and operators of commercial wireless networks. Sprint has implemented a Consumer Signal Booster registration system that enables customers to simply register their signal booster by providing the make and model of the signal booster, the customer’s contact information, and the address where the signal booster will be operated.”
“Sprint has found that Consumer Signal Boosters certified by OET as meeting the required Network Protection Standards are currently causing no significant negative impact on our Network operations.”
Altogether, this is really great feedback for the signal booster industry. Sensible, well-engineered products are increasing consumers’ coverage without causing any significant interference with carriers’ networks.
Manufacturers are continuing to develop new boosters to suit all situations, from small apartments in busy cities, to large warehouses in remote rural locations. It’s great to hear that thus far, the cell networks are on board with FCC-approved signal booster kits.