FCC Puts Kibosh on Cell Phone Signal Boosters

Tells owners they may have to turn them off

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 21, 2013 3:41 PM CST

(Newser) – The FCC today ordered the 2 million Americans using wireless signal boosters to turn them off—then quickly backpedaled, saying only that they might have to turn them off. The FCC adopted new rules governing the devices, which are designed to boost cell phone reception, but which regulators fear will interfere with other wireless signals. From now on, users will only be allowed to buy devices that meet the new, signal-protecting standards—none of which are on the market yet.

Even once they arrive, consumers will need their carrier's approval to use them. As for people who already have boosters, the initial FAQ said they'd need to get permission as well, or else turn them off, Ars Technica reports—and a legal expert says they could technically fine anyone who didn't. But it didn't take long for the FCC to change its language; now, it says you must turn off the device only if "a wireless provider or the FCC asks you to."

A wireless signal booster is seen surrounded by phones in this government handout illustration.
A wireless signal booster is seen surrounded by phones in this government handout illustration.   (FCC)
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