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fcclogo NEWS

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

May 10, 2000
  News Media Contact:
Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0511


Washington, DC -- Today, the Commission adopted a proposal to consider permitting the operation of ultra-wideband (UWB) technology on an unlicensed basis, which could have enormous benefits for public safety, consumers and businesses. UWB devices appear to be able to operate on spectrum already occupied by existing radio services without causing interference. It could permit scarce spectrum resources to be used more efficiently, a core responsibility of the Commission in its role as the nation’s spectrum manager.

The Commission is seeking comments on its proposal, which would pave the way for a vast array of new products incorporating UWB technology. Recent advances in UWB technology have resulted in its potential use for a variety of applications such as radar imaging of objects buried under the ground or behind walls and short-range, high-speed data transmissions suitable for broadband access to the Internet. UWB communications devices can also be used by police, fire and rescue personnel to provide covert secure communications. Several parties also note that UWB devices can be used for a variety of communications applications involving the transmission of very high data rates over short distances without interference. Such devices can be used to distribute wirelessly services such as phone, cable and computer networking throughout a building or home.

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 (GPS), are protected against harmful interference. To ensure this 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 stressed, in particular, the need for further testing and analysis in bands below 2 GHz. It said such testing is already being planned by a number of organizations, including the Department of Transportation and the National Telecommunications Information Administration. The Commission noted that it would provide ample opportunity to complete these tests and ensure that the analysis of the test results are submitted in the record for public comment before adopting any final rules. The Commission asked that all test results be submitted for the record by October 30, 2000.

Action by the Commission May 10, 2000, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 00-163). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani.

- FCC –

ET Docket 98-153 OET contact: John Reed at (202) 418-2455