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FCC to Vote on Data Roaming Mandate

22 марта 2011

The FCC plans to vote on mandatory data roaming at its next open meeting, according to a tentative agenda for the April 7 assembly.

If approved, the order would help rural and regional carriers provide data roaming for their customers, similar to current roaming agreements for voice services. The regulations would require operators to offer data roaming arrangements to other wireless operators on "commercially reasonable terms and conditions."

"We're very encouraged to see the commission take this step and recognize that consumers expect to have better roaming wherever they go," said Eric Graham, vice president of government affairs for Cellular South. The regional operator has been a vocal proponent of mandated data roaming

Sprint, T-Mobile USA, the Rural Cellular Association (RCA) and a bevy of other operators have pushed the FCC to pass its proposed data roaming mandate, but AT&T and Verizon Wireless oppose the measure.

Verizon has argued that the FCC doesn't have the regulatory authority to impose rules on data services, including mobile data roaming, and both Verizon and AT&T say the regulations are unnecessary. Neither Verizon nor AT&T provided comments on the upcoming FCC vote by press time.

Those in favor of the mandate say the regulations are necessary to level the playing field as mobile data services become increasingly important to their customers. CTIA has no formal position on the issue.

In a statement, RCA President and CEO Steven Berry commended the FCC for moving ahead. "By putting data roaming on the agenda, the FCC has just taken a huge step forward in the promotion of competition to benefit consumers throughout the United States," he said.

The FCC also said it would vote on regulations for cell phone signal boosters. The issue has been a point of contention between manufactures of the devices, like Wilson Electronics, and operators who say the signal boosters can cause severe interference problems with their network. Wilson has been pushing the FCC to adopt regulations that would prevent harmful signal boosters from getting to market.

"We are hopeful that when a preliminary ruling comes down, the FCC decides to allow the use of cell signal boosters subject to increased regulations requiring booster manufacturer to meet industry standards specifications for cell phones in addition to having designed in technologies such as cell site overload/noise floor level protection and feedback oscillation sensing with auto-shutdown," said Joe Banos, COO of Wilson Electronics, in a statement. "These simple requirements added to the FCC equipment certification process would ensure that all manufacturers' booster products work transparently and don't interfere with cell sites."

Other issues on the agenda for the FCC's next open meeting include an order on pole attachments, a notice of inquiry into accelerating broadband deployment, video relay and network reliability standard.


Источник: Wireless Week

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