FCC Opens Experimental Licensing System for New Technology Testing

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The Federal Communications Commission has announced that its experimental licensing system can now accept applications for program licenses, which will help startups to get the requirements needed to start testing on new 5G applications.

“This new type of experimental license allows greater flexibility for parties—including universities, research labs, health care facilities, and manufacturers of radio frequency equipment— to develop new technologies and services while protecting incumbent services against harmful interference,” said Julius Knapp, chief of the office of engineering and technology at the FCC, in a statement.

The Office of Engineering and Technology typically grants more than 2,000 experimental licenses each year. Many experimental licenses support the development of 5G wireless services, according to Knapp.

The FCC partnered with New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering and the University of Colorado, Boulder, to conduct beta trials, debug the system, and make suggestions.

NYU was the first to receive an experimental program license from the new experimental licensing system for NYU Wireless, which allows students, researchers, and companies to collaborate on millimeter wave (mmWave) radio spectrum technologies. These technologies will be essential to future 5G networks.

NYU created a programmable platform to rapidly design, prototype, and validate technologies designed for the mmWave radio spectrum. NYU made the data it collected through this process open to other developers to use in their own experiments.

The FCC had revised the experimental licensing rules to provide greater flexibility to conduct experiments through program licenses. The program licenses were designed to speed up the process for institutions that regularly file for experimental applications such as universities, companies, and medical institutions. The program licenses also created for “Innovation Zones,” geographic areas that the FCC can define and make available for experiments.

“We look forward to the submittal of applications for the new program experimental licenses and stand ready to answer any questions and assist parties to make this process flow smoothly,” Knapp said.

Morgan Lynch
About Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.
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