The Federal Communications Commission last week made changes in its radio regulations that could provide a multibillion-dollar boost in the development of devices such as wireless computers, VCRs and speakers.
The commission, voting 3-0, increased the number of frequencies for non-licensed radio frequency devices and removed restrictions on usage, bandwidth and modulation.These devices include television remote control units, garage door openers, wireless microphones and cordless telephones, many of which use radio waves to send signals over short distances through the air.
Thomas P. Stanley, chief of the FCC's office of engineering and technology, said the agency receives 10,000 applications a year for such devices.
He said the rule changes could lead to a $2 billion increase in the production of such items.
The FCC tightly controls the range and types of signals these devices can emit so they don't interfere with licensed radio operations, such as commercial broadcast stations and police and aircraft radios.
The ruling broadens the portion of the airwaves these devices can use, while in some cases tightening emissions standards to prevent interference with other radio services.
The rules were implemented in 1938. Since then the FCC has amended them on a case-by-case basis for each new radio frequency device.
The amended rules will "restore the technical flexibility originally envisioned for non-licensed devices" and "eliminate all unnecessary and overly restrictive technical regulations," the agency said.
The commission also voted not to allow new radio frequency devices to operate on broadcast frequencies being reserved for the next generation of television.