RealTime IT News

FCC Considers New Wireless Technology to Open Broadband Internet Access

The Federal Communications Commission this week adopted a proposal to consider permitting the operation of ultra-wideband wireless technology on an unlicensed basis.

The move could have an enormous impact on wireless consumer and business broadband applications for access to the Internet, as well as public safety use of the technology.

UWB devices are able to operate on spectrum already occupied by existing radio services without causing interference. The FCC rulemaking proposal could permit scarce spectrum resources to be used more efficiently.

The commission is currently seeking comments on its proposal, which would pave the way for a wide variety of new products incorporating UWB technology. The FCC first opened a docket to review the technology in September 1998.

Recent UWB technology advancements have resulted in its potential use for applications on radar imaging of objects buried under the ground like land mine removal. But the ramification of the platforms high-speed data transmission ability makes it a highly suitable technology for broadband access to the Internet.

While police, fire and rescue could use UWB communication devices provide covert secure communications and find people buried under building rubble, the technology can also be used for communications applications involving the transmission of very high data rates over short distances without interference. Such devices can be used to deploy wireless services such as phone, cable and computer networking throughout a building or home.

Time Domain Corp. is a leading force in the development of UWB technology and a founding member of the working group testing corps.

Ralph Petroff, Time Domain president and chief executive officer, welcomed the FCC's proposed rulemaking as an important milestone for wireless technological developments.

"We applaud the efforts of the FCC to issue the NPRM. By this unanimous vote, the FCC is sending a strong message that ultra wideband has the potential to save lives, create entirely new products and industries, and help ease the current spectrum crunch," Petroff said.

Huntsville, Ala.-based Time Domain's flagship technology is its PulsON chip design that is integrated into products for commercial and government partners.

Petroff said that the FCC's action is an important milestone for the commercialization of its UWB technology and signals the beginning of a new era for the wireless industry.

"Never before has there been a wireless technology like UWB that fuses communications, precise positioning, and radar. This NPRM creates the opportunity for everyone to experience the benefits of this once-in-a-generation technology," Petroff said.

In its consideration of proposals for the authorization of UWB technology, the Commission has committed to ensuring that safety services, such as the global positioning system are protected against harmful interference.

In order to ensure frequency protection, the commission noted that further testing and analysis would be needed before UWB technology could be authorized to operate in the bands used for these services.

The commission already developed test plans by for the Department of Transportation and the National Telecommunications Information Administration to better determine potential interference of mission critical communication. The FCC requested that additional test results be submitted for the record by Oct. 30.