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FCC adopts signal booster regulations requiring consumers to get carrier approval before use

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The FCC has finally approved regulations on signal boosters, which allow cellphone users to improve their connectivity to a cell tower. The new regulations, adopted in a report and order, lay out requirements for boosters that are intended to prevent them from interfering mobile networks. Most all the major wireless providers are on board with the new regulations, which stipulate that consumers must receive permission from their network operator before turning on and using a booster. Consumer boosters sold after March 1, 2014, and some before that date will be marked with a label signifying it meets the FCC's new regulations, and Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all agreed that devices with the label will be automatically approved and do not need to be registered. Those currently using a signal booster will need to register their devices with their carrier and hope for approval, however.

Signal boosters for consumers have been available for some years now, but today's news brings the first FCC regulations designed for the devices. Washington DC-based interest group Public Knowledge said the FCC's regulations went "half-way," and it expressed disappointment that the commission chose "carriers over consumers in setting the rules."