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Following C-Band 5G Debacle, FCC Considers Regulating Radio Receiver Performance

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Apr 21, 2022, 4:38 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

The FCC has launched an official proceeding to investigate how it can best address the issue of radio receiver performance. The FCC has historically regulated radio transmitters, but paid little attention to the technical aspects of radio receivers. Specifically, poor filters can leave radio receivers susceptible to interference from transmitters using nearby frequencies. The FCC has addressed this issue in the past by leaving "guard bands" of empty radio spectrum between various bands it designates for specific uses. But large guard bands are an inefficient use of increasingly-precious radio spectrum. This issue flared up in a dramatic fashion with the recent launch of 5G in the C Band. The FAA raised last-minute objections saying that the FCC's guard band for C Band was inadequate to protect against interference with planes' radio altimeters, some of which may have poorly-performing filters. The FCC will now explore its legal options to regulate receivers, as well as "incentives, industry-led voluntary approaches, and Commission policy and guidance". The goal is to "take a fresh look at ... how improved receiver performance can promote more efficient spectrum use and enable valuable new services to be introduced that will benefit the American public."

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