Text | WordPerfect

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).

July 14, 1999

News Media contact:
David Fiske (202) 418-0500
TTY (202) 418-2555


The Federal Communications Commission today proposed to amend its rules to allocate spectrum and to establish rules for a Wireless Medical Telemetry Service.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today, the FCC's proposal would allow potentially life-critical medical telemetry equipment to operate on a blanket licensed, interference-protected basis.

Medical telemetry equipment currently operates on a secondary basis and is unprotected from interference from primary users. The FCC believes this action will improve the reliability of this life critical service.

Medical telemetry equipment is used in hospitals and health care facilities to transmit patient measurement data to a nearby receiver, permitting greater patient mobility and increased comfort. Examples of medical telemetry equipment include heart, blood pressure and respiration monitors. The use of these devices allows patients to move around early in their recovery while still being monitored for adverse symptoms. With such devices, one health care worker can monitor several patients remotely, thus decreasing health care costs.

Medical telemetry devices are currently allowed to operate under both Parts 15 and 90 of the Commission's rules. Part 15 permits medical telemetry equipment to operate on an unlicensed non-interference basis on TV channels 7-13 and 14-46 (174-216 MHz and 470-668 MHz). Part 90 permits medical telemetry equipment to operate on a secondary basis to land mobile users in the 450-470 MHz band.

The spectrum used on a secondary basis by medical telemetry in recent years has been used more extensively by existing primary services, thereby posing an increased risk of interference to medical telemetry devices. Also, over the past several years there have been changes in these spectrum bands that heighten the concern about future interference to medical telemetry uses, including FCC rule changes to Part 90 allowing for more efficient use of land mobile radio services and the use of formerly unused TV channels for the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting.

The American Hospital Association's (AHA) Medical Telemetry Task Force recently submitted recommendations to the Commission addressing the potential critical safety risks to patients from harmful interference caused to wireless telemetry equipment. The task force recommended that the Commission allocate spectrum where medical telemetry equipment can operate without risk of receiving interference.

In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC tentatively concluded that it is necessary to find additional spectrum for medical telemetry equipment and that the spectrum should be allocated on a primary basis to ensure that medical telemetry equipment is able to function without interference from other sources.

The NPRM invites comments on two alternative allocation proposals, 1) 608-614 MHz, 1395-1400 MHz and 1429-1432 MHz or, 2) 608-614 MHz and 1391-1400 MHz. For each allocation proposal, comments are sought on the impact the proposal would have on prospective uses of the bands for private land mobile services and for non-voice, non-geostationary mobile satellite services. Comments are also sought on whether it is feasible for medical telemetry users to share parts of these bands with non-voice, non-geostationary mobile satellite service operators should this service be permitted to operate in such bands in the future.

Action by the Commission July 14, 1999, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 99- 182). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani.

Office of Engineering and Technology contact: Hugh L. Van Tuyl, (202) 418-7506.

ET Docket No. 99-255
ET Report No. 99-2

- FCC -