• United States

FCC addresses spam, security, broadband

Aug 09, 20042 mins
Cellular NetworksGovernmentMalware

* FCC cleans wireless house

The Federal Communications Commission has been busy on the wireless front, making strides to protect small mobile devices from spam, improve national security, and help wireless compete with DSL and cable services.

Last week, for example, the FCC adopted rules to protect consumers from receiving unsolicited commercial messages on their wireless phones and pagers. The rules prohibit sending commercial messages to any Internet domain associated with wireless messaging services. 

Mobile radio network operators are required to submit those domain names to the FCC, which will compile them in a list to be made publicly available so senders will know what those domain names are.  The anti-spam rules had been set forth by Congress in the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003” – informally known as the CAN-SPAM Act.

Among the FCC’s other recent activities:

* The Commission voted last week to include wireless push-to-talk (PTT) services under Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requirements. Such services will be subject to the same court-ordered surveillance capabilities as wired and other wireless communications services. Nextel Communications and Verizon Wireless are among the U.S. mobile network operators that offer PTT services. Cingular Wireless says it is targeting 2005 for a PTT service rollout.

* The FCC published late last month new rules for the 2.5-GHz frequency band. The order restructures the band to make more efficient use of the spectrum used by Multipoint Distribution Service (MDS) – now renamed “Broadband Radio Service” – and Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS). There will be distinct band segments for high- and low-power operations to reduce the likelihood of interference. Low-power operations include two-way fixed and mobile broadband applications.

The rules also add 5 MHz of spectrum from 2495 MHz to 2500 MHz, for a total band size of 194 MHz.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell pointed out in a statement that the spectrum band is double that available in the 2.4-GHz band to 802.11b and 802.11g Wi-Fi networks, and will “provide a competitive alternative to cable modem and DSL service.”