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Got a Cell Phone Booster? FCC Says You Have To Turn It Off

timothy posted about a year ago | from the commons-problem dept.

Communications 245

First time accepted submitter Dngrsone writes "Some two million people have bought cell-phone wireless signal boosters and have been using them to get better communication between their phones and distant cell towers. But now, the FCC says they all have to turn their boosters off and ask permission from their providers, and register their devices with those providers, before they can turn them back on."

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245 comments

I'll get right on that (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966967)

I'm just falling all over myself to listen to an agency that fines people tens of thousands of dollars for saying "fuck" on the radio.

Re:I'll get right on that (4, Funny)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year ago | (#42967711)

Yah.. I'm inclined to say "or else what?" Have fun chasing down those oilfield trucks that are 30 miels in the brush illegally using cell phone boosters!

Anonymous Coward Says FCC can suck his dick (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966989)

That is all.

Re:Anonymous Coward Says FCC can suck his dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967171)

don't forget the balls Genachowski!

Pretty sure this doesn't include ham technical class operators (and the like)

Re:Anonymous Coward Says FCC can suck his dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967183)

Yes. The FCC needs to appoint a person to be the Official Lips Of The FCC. That person can suck my dick!

Ideally this person is a woman. Not a gay man. Just my preference but YMMV. Maybe they can appoint one of each to please everybody.

I mean, if there's no nipples on TV to worry about. And if there's no fining people for saying "fuck" without first proving that saying "fuck" ever hurt anyone. Isn't that a strange concept? Proving that damage was done BEFORE you punish somebody? It's almost like it would be a good idea to require this of govt.

When government is involved-everything is politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967485)

When government is involved, everything is political. From the control of the airwaves to scientific research.

Freedom means being free and switching the channel if you don't like the F-work.

Re:When government is involved-everything is polit (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about a year ago | (#42967735)

When government is involved, everything is political. From the control of the airwaves to scientific research.

Freedom means being free and switching the channel if you don't like the F-work.

Consumerism and the way mass-media is done* has bred a dominant culture of intellectual and emotional babies. They're stuck at an infantile mentality and the surest sign of it is the unwillingness to take personal responsibility. A form of this personal failing is like this: "it's not good enough that *I* don't engage in an activity I disagree with - no one else should do it either!" This pathological inability to be satisfied with anything less than such options not being present at all is a complete rejection of even the slightest self-determinism. It's like these people don't even trust themselves not to watch, read, listen to, or engage in something they find distasteful.

They demand some authority to do this selection for them, and of course authorities are only too happy to find another growth area for their power. They look for it the same way businesses look to expand into new markets. Power instead of money is just a different form of currency. Usually "for the children" provides a good excuse, which again goes back to personal responsibility; it is a rejection of the idea that parents should actually be parents and be involved in what their children are exposed to. Soon enough the whole concept will be deemed absurd and wishful thinking, despite the generations before who did exactly that.

It's scary to consider that we are rapidly becoming a culture that conceives of freedom as being too bothersome. After all, real freedom means that other people might do things you wouldn't do yourself. Allowing consenting adults (and only those) to do such things would mean, most of all, believing in the power of your own counter-example if you really find some thing (drugs, curse words, whatever) so offensive. It would also mean having the emotional maturity to let go of the need to control other people, to be content living your own life as you see fit and giving others the tolerance and space to do the same.

This is what we're losing. It's no bargain because I have yet to see what we're gaining.


* Mass media doesn't inherently influence people to be shallow and stupid. It's one of those "corporations make more money that way" sort of deals. Governments also find it more convenient to rule over a population that won't question anything too deeply. Then the candidate who wins is usually the one with the most money to spend on advertising.

Re:Anonymous Coward Says FCC can suck his dick (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#42967607)

I dare you too start a white house petition to appoint someone's lips from the FCC to suck our dicks.

I think I might actually sign that one in order to see the president "deaL with it".

*sigh* (4, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about a year ago | (#42966991)

Oh, great. More bullshit.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967349)

you can have my signal booster when you pry it from my cold dead hands,
is what i will start hearing, maybe I should start stockpiling just in case

Re:*sigh* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967773)

You can keep it. But your right to emit EM radiation ends when it interferes with my right to emit EM radiation.

Booster sticker (5, Funny)

adam.voss (1854938) | about a year ago | (#42967013)

How do I turn off my as seen on TV signal boosting sticker?

Re:Booster sticker (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#42967341)

How do I turn off my as seen on TV signal boosting sticker?

You use a waterproof felt tip pen to draw a switch in the "off" position onto the sticker.

Re:Booster sticker (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#42967799)

I used green magic marker around its edge and I swear I'm getting clearer sounding audio.

do I have to erase that, too??

Gridlock, what gridlock (0)

OffTheLip (636691) | about a year ago | (#42967047)

Who says the current administration can't get things done...

Re:Gridlock, what gridlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967279)

The FCC is one of many delegated structures. They were set up once by agreement between the Congress and President of the time, granted full authority to rule over their specific fields, and anyone who ever suggests Congressional oversight is labelled an extreme right-wing fascist racist hypocritical homophobic closet-homosexual.

how about no (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967065)

or HELL NO.

You see... regulation is fine unless it is against a corporate buddy.

HA!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967071)

I'll turn my booster off when the FCC forces cellular companies to provide better coverage. Until then, they can both bite me.

Re:HA!!! (1)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#42967581)

Maybe the prospect of 2M users calling up to try to register their boosters could result in just such a thing.

makes some sense (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42967073)

Devices transmitting in the regulated bands (as opposed to unregulated space like the Wifi spectrum) have to meet & be tested for certain noninterference properties, which is only valid if they're used unmodified. A provider could get a device+addon combination certified, however.

Re:makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967315)

However isn't there also some sort of rule that says devices operating in unregulated space MUST accept any interference pushed onto them from elsewhere?

Re:makes some sense (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#42967367)

I'd like to know what "accept" means.

Is it that they have to let their operation get fucked over, or merely that they have to use the airwaves at their own risk not unlike swimming in a river without a lifeguard.

Re:makes some sense (3, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | about a year ago | (#42967683)

The second. It's a "deal with it" rule; otherwise line filters, ferrite chokes, shielding and whatnot would make your device non-compliant.

Re:makes some sense (1)

arielCo (995647) | about a year ago | (#42967633)

That's the FCC's Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, Part 15, and "accept" means here that it's up to the manufacturer to "deal with it", exactly because you're operating in an unregulated band. Otherwise line filters, shielded enclosures etc. would be illegal !

Re:makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967317)

no no no no screw that ITS OBAMAS FAULT

Re:makes some sense (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#42967339)

No, it doesn't. There are two parts to the new regulation.

1) New cell boosters must meet stricter standards of non-interference.

That's great. No objection here.

2) Carriers must approve of the use of each and every one of these boosters, even the new ones that meet the stricter standard. If you have multiple carriers connected devices, you must have the booster approved by each carrier.

That makes no sense at all.

Re:makes some sense (5, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#42967515)

It actually does make sense - the carriers hold the licenses for using the spectrum these boosters are boosting, they paid a lot of money to use those spectrum licenses.

Thus, you must get the permission of the license holder before you can use that portion of the spectrum.

Re:makes some sense (4, Interesting)

satch89450 (186046) | about a year ago | (#42967753)

If you have ever been involved with regulated radio, the regulation " Carriers must approve of the use of each and every one of these boosters" makes perfect sense.

The introduction of a repeater into a cell system means that the engineering of the cell boundaries can be affected. Now, for boosters that are used in building that shield the RF, there is little engineering that needs to be done -- you are essentially extending the antenna outside the shield. (And you can get repeater antennas without boosters that do the same job, and I suspect they are *not* covered by this regulation.)

When you have an active repeater, that means the cell signals from the provider can be relayed as well as the signals from your cell phone. With microcell design, this can play hob with the clearances, so that a phone will see two cell site courtesy of your repeater.

I'm not an expert on cell systems, but I remember some of the arguments used to keep people from using cell phones from airplanes.

Re:makes some sense (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42967359)

Unfortunately people get really pissy when a regulation takes away some advantage they have over other people using the shared resource. It is kinda like those triggers that turn red lights green, when a few people are using them it isn't a huge deal and the people love the devices, but as they become more common it starts to degrade the whole system. Granted the FCC might be jumping the gun a bit here, but conceptually this is pretty in line with what they are supposed to be doing for once.

Re:makes some sense (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#42967437)

Devices transmitting in the regulated bands (as opposed to unregulated space like the Wifi spectrum) ....

Technically all of the spectrum is regulated. There is spectrum set aside for consumer use under various parts of the FCC's Rules, but there are regulations to follow even then. Most consumer devices operate under Part 15 rules, which generally regulates how much RF power you can radiate and stay legal, which boils down to "not much" and if you interfere with a licensed user you have to turn your stuff off.

By the way, there is at least one part of the WiFi spectrum that is actually allocated to Amateur Radio use. It is in the bottom of the 2.4Ghz band. (802.11b and up). Hams can use 100 Watts or more, where consumers are limited to Part 15 levels (about half a watt).

Re:makes some sense (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42967847)

A provider could get a device+addon combination certified, however.

Something tells me this will cost users a large monthly fee despite the testing being a one-time cost...

Mr. Universe sez... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967085)

You can't stop the signal, Mal. Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.

In the words of Slim Shady (-1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#42967095)

Fuck the FCC.

Anyway they chance of them doing anything about this is nil.

Re:In the words of Slim Shady (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967203)

"Could start a revolution, polluting the airwaves"

Obama's jack booted thugs can... (1)

freshmeathead (2708225) | about a year ago | (#42967097)

have my cell phone booster when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Re:Obama's jack booted thugs can... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967281)

have my cell phone booster when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

He gave himself the ability to kill American citizens without charges and without trial. 'Cuz that's what the Founders really wanted. That's why you need to be a Constitutional scholar, because the Constitution is too simple on its own. You need lots of complex legal theories and mental gymnatics to read the Constitution and get "authorized to summarily execute American citizens" out of it. A simple reading of what it says would never permit this.

Anyway, just sayin' - maybe it's unwise to tempt him.

Like Bill Hicks said about the Waco massacre, where the Bradley flame-throwing tanks were strangely not shown on major networks, only on local coverage, "all governments are liars and murderers".

Re:Obama's jack booted thugs can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967611)

If you are against murder and for due process, you are racist.

I'm fine with this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967115)

" They could cause interference with cellular networks, even if the ones today generally haven't been too problematic."

If so, I don't want my decent cellphone quality to be worse because of boosters.

What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#42967137)

What do you mean I have to turn it off? The cell phone booster I got ain't got an off switch. Sounds funny, but to get this cell phone booster is so thin it fits between the battery and the inside of the battery cover. I was really lucky because they had a promotion going and this 30 .. 40 or even 50$ value booster was on sale at 19$ and I was fast enough to call them within the next 10 minutes and got the second one for free, just paid S&H alone for the second one.

This amazing cell phone booster works on all brands. It looks like a sticker with weird tattoo image like log printed on it. All I have to do is to open the battery cover and stick it to the inside of that cover. That is all. I am guaranteed to get four bars on the antenna no matter where I go. I itching to get my hands on this thing, I would like to rub it in the face of my friends who are paying big bucks for brand name companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile. My cell phone provider just charges me 10$ and his coverage map does not include my home. But, they don't know about this amazing cell phone booster. It is going to be sweet baby!, so I thought.

Suddenly this big government is thrusting its nose where it is none of its business and is banning the cell phone booster. What am I going to do?

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (0)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year ago | (#42967181)

"I would like to rub it in the face of my friends who are paying big bucks for brand name companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile. My cell phone provider just charges me 10$ and his coverage map does not include my home."

Um, the FCC wants you to pay for overpriced cell service from their customers, the Big Telcos.

Who did you think they work for?

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (2)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year ago | (#42967415)

"Um, the FCC wants you to pay for overpriced cell service from their OWNERS, the Big Telcos."

FTFY

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (1)

F34nor (321515) | about a year ago | (#42967421)

No shit. Wake up Americans. "Free market economics" is a dream that we lack. Oligopolies operating in natural monopolies is just a terrible rape fantasy for investors. Either make it a well regulated monopoly or break the fuckers up and limit the size of any telco to something tiny. THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS NOT A FREE MARKET!

You think it is? Your a moron.

You think state owned monopolies will lead to worse service and higher prices? Prove it with examples from this century.

In China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967519)

the best stuff is state-owned. There is free market in China, but you will have to compete against this 1000000-pound gorilla to begin with. Some have succeed and get absorbed into the state-owned franchise, but many have failed.

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967777)

Your a moron.

Thank you for this, it's easily the funniest thing I'll read this week.

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#42967277)

DO NOT eat the booster. The signal is too clear. So clear. Too clear. I lost mine in a bag of chips and I didn't realise I had swallowed it until I started communing with other people's body thetans.

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (1, Informative)

Quantos (1327889) | about a year ago | (#42967505)

They aren't banning it. Learn to read - and comprehend what you are reading.

Re:What? Turn it off? It ain't got a switch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967779)

That is not a "booster", it does not "boost" any signal (aka: amplification). It simply is a higher gain antenna, meaning your device is perfectly legal. You are not the target of big government.

I am guaranteed to get four bars on the antenna no matter where I go. I itching to get my hands on this thing, I would like to rub it in the face of my friends who are paying big bucks for brand name companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile. ... It is going to be sweet baby!, so I thought.

Also, based on a few sentences in your first paragraph, it seems as though you don't actually own this "antenna" yet. Good luck, your results may vary.

Need more info ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967175)

We need to watch the FCC closely. They often make decisions that do not support best practices or consumer needs. This note provides notice, but doesn't provide the detail we really need.

-) Why did the FCC hand down this ruling? What was their reason? Who asked for it? Was there a comment period for this ruling?
-) Are these devices really amplifiers or are they signal boosters? How do they work?
-) Do these devices potentially harm cell phones? Where do people usually buy them? Are they still legal to purchase but not use?
-) Are service providers likely to give permissions to users, or are they likely to track requests and penalize users who have asked permission?
-) The FCC usually has a website that accepts comments and complaints about rulings like this. What is/was the URL?

Re:Need more info ... (2, Interesting)

terraformer (617565) | about a year ago | (#42967259)

This. The cell phone providers are selling devices and subscriptions to fempto-cells and these boosters cut into that market and compete with their services. This isn't about the airwaves.

Re:Need more info ... (1)

F34nor (321515) | about a year ago | (#42967461)

AT&T never has them in stock, hmm I wonder why? Oh because they have a crap network, crap support, and spend all their retained earnings branding their god damn phones instead of doing their fucking job.

Re:Need more info ... (1)

Ariven (256118) | about a year ago | (#42967357)

Well, depending on the provider I don't think that they will penalize the users... I have one that I actually got from t-mobile for "free" (i.e. I had to agree to staying with the carrier for 2 years). But it works well to keep some signal for us in our house.

They won't give you one if you don't have at least 1 bar of signal some place in your house, and they won't give you one unless you have a standalone house that you live in (i.e. no apartments).

The device I have is a two piece setup.. I have a receiving antenna that I have to place wherever in the house that I can get the best signal for it (for me, its on top of a cupboard in my kitchen angling out a window past our neighbors 2 story house), and another piece that is somewhere else in the house that does the rebroadcasting of the signal that our cell phones connect to. Normally I don't get any bars anywhere in the house on my cell, but with this running and in the same room with me I get 2-4 bars.. latency is horrid, but it seems to work well to get me on the system.

Re:Need more info ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967385)

On the plus side--maybe--they state that the wireless carriers have agreed to approve boosters that have the sticker. If they really live up to that, and don't try to charge you some extra bullshit fee for the 'privilege' of using a booster, then you're good to go. It may be a little control-freaky, but it gives an official stamp of approval to something people have been doing anyway.

Reading the replies here... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967211)

I'm reminded how Americans first invented the round-about but it took the British to decide that everyone should travel around it in the same direction.

So best wishes to all those saying "over my dead body" and I hope that any interference YOU cause by use of an unlicensed device doesn't kill anyone (preventing Emergency communications, reseting a pacemaker to it's test settings, etc).

oil and gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967275)

I bet most of these boosters are in trucks working out in the oil and gas fields. good luck trying to get us all to do that

Uh... which carrier? (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year ago | (#42967293)

A client of mine has a metal building that is basically a Faraday cage. You had to go outside, or next to one-of-two windows. So they installed a cell signal repeater for the employees.

So just who do they register with? Any? All?

FYI - There is no associated carrier with the company. They let the employees expense a portion of their cell bills.

Re:Uh... which carrier? (3, Informative)

Controlio (78666) | about a year ago | (#42967441)

You could always install a passive repeater - two antennas and a wire connecting them. They're not illegal, and they pass signal out of faraday cages effectively. Make the outside antenna a directional one and point it in the general direction of your nearest tower, and you shouldn't have any issues.

Re:Uh... which carrier? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#42967973)

I agree, but it'd be wise to have it engineered before buying any components. Whether you do it on your own or hire a consultant RF engineer is of course up to you.

Completely agree with this... (5, Interesting)

Controlio (78666) | about a year ago | (#42967297)

...and I'll give you a perfect example of what they're trying to fight. I work in a stadium, in an area covered by 15-20 different "cell towers" (real towers, DAS, COWs, etc). The TV production crew works in one or more 53' aluminum expando trailers. Depending on how they're grounded, a lot of them make pretty impressive Faraday Cages - meaning cell phone and radio services are terrible inside them. Some of the TV truck engineers have installed active cell repeaters to help combat this, but of course forget if they have them turned on or not.

A TV truck came to town during an NFL game, they happened to be a truck whose engineers I'm close friends with and I happen to be aware that they run a repeater. During the game I hear reports of cell network issues. I'm walking through a service area only to find a guy with a spectrum analyzer waiving a directional antenna around the halls. I ask him what he's doing, and he says that six cell towers have been completely shut down due to some interference and it's making cell phone communication nearly impossible. (There is a baseball park next door. This can easily lead to tragedy when you have 100,000+ cell phones on the same street corner and no way to call out due to interference and capacity bottlenecks.)

I asked the engineer if he knew when the interference started, he said about 8am Saturday. He said it went away for a while, but then started up again at about 6am on game day. This is the exact schedule the TV trucks were powered up. I tell him to hang on, go to the truck engineers, and ask them if their repeater is on. I tell them to pull it, walk back in to the engineer, and ask how the towers are doing. He says everything seems to be fine now, and asks me what the issue was. I tell him it's taken care of, and walk away.

One cell repeater, left on accidentally in a densely populated area, effectively shut down communications at two major sporting events. They seem like a great idea, but they amplify so much noise at such a high power that they blow regular cell users who can't reach the repeater out of the water. I've seen it happen, and I'm glad the FCC is doing something about it.

Re:Completely agree with this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967403)

hey fuckhead, just step outside

I had to walk up two flights of stairs out of a basement to use a phone for years

Re:Completely agree with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967979)

hey fuckhead, just step outside

I had to walk up two flights of stairs out of a basement to use a phone for years

Get a landline you moron.

Re:Completely agree with this... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42967459)

And that is why there is backlash. Asking people to give up something that gives them an advantage and only negatively impacts other people plays into a rather strong narrative that many have.

Re:Completely agree with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42968003)

And that is why there is backlash. Asking people to give up something that gives them an advantage and only negatively impacts other people plays into a rather strong narrative that many have.

Call it an asshole trait we learned from our greedy fucks in charge. They do a bang-up job of leading by example.

What comes around...goes around...

Re:Completely agree with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967501)

couldn't you have just wrote, "fuck the fcc or obama or the government" like everybody else? why do have to throw logic and reason around like that. You're not thinking of the children at all are you?

Re:Completely agree with this... (0, Troll)

tj2 (54604) | about a year ago | (#42967629)

Yes, because God forbid the people at the games actually, you know, watch the games instead of surfing the web, tweeting inane opinions or Facebooking their opinions of the refs. And "tragedy"? Really? If the officials at these stadia have emergency plans for disasters that depend on all the fans having cell phone access, they ought to be flogged. We've had major sporting events for a *whole* lot longer than we've had cell phones.

Disclaimer: I've worked in wireless since the early days of cellular, and I was a field tech at Cellular One in Seattle back when turning up the 20th tower in the Seattle MSA was a big deal for us. So I understand that what you are saying is correct technically, but I'm far from convinced that this is a burning issue that the FCC needs to address. I'm still further from convinced that this isn't simply more kowtowing to the wireless carriers to allow them Yet Another Revenue Stream for which they do nothing.

And I have a repeater at my house. I'm in a semi-rural area, and the signal strength at my house flat-out sucks. My little signal repeater puts out at most 1W, and my nearest neighbor is about 200 yards away. I don't think I'm likely to cause significant interference to anyone, but it improves the usability of my cell phone dramatically.

Re:Completely agree with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967733)

Cool now I can use my cell repeater as a cell jammer. Thanks for letting me know.

Re:Completely agree with this... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#42968011)

Lol, the same shit about grounded vs. ungrounded Faraday cages. Man, it makes absolutely, positively no difference at the frequencies involved. None whatsoever. Any grounding you would have is a big fucking inductor that is more of an open circuit at the frequencies involved, never mind probably a half-decent antenna as well. I have checked it for myself with WiFi, and it makes absolutely no measurable difference at all whether the Faraday cage is grounded or not. No matter how I'd measure things.

The Right Now triumphing over the Right. (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about a year ago | (#42968075)

Thank you for an excellent example of the "Right" answer being forsaken for the "Right now" answer. (Or, if you prefer, the Cheap over the Elegant.)

Specifically, that the TV truck engineers chose an off-the-shelf answer (cell boosters) that required zero effort and knowledge, rather than, say, wiring external cell antennas on the trailer, and running connections inside.

Because, after all, you stop looking once you have an answer...

How are they going to enforce this? (1)

Formorian (1111751) | about a year ago | (#42967327)

Can the carriers see that someone is running a booster?

I know a few businesses' that run boosters inside (from hospitals to churches to office building) so cell works in the basement or in rest of building for the major 4 carriers (or 2 att/ver in some cases). So do they have to get permission from all 4 even if the company itself doesn't have a contract with any of the 4, it's for their employee's/visitors? And really how can they tell?

Truly curious about the tell part.

In Aus this is happening aswell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967365)

They are doing this in Australia aswell, problem is I know of many people who use them and cannot get any other access to a phone line without one.

http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_1697

For emergencies some of these people will have to run down the street to get to a non-existent payphone or drive until they have reception again, and this isn't in rural areas neither, this is in an urban area that is hilly but because telstra and optus are such cunts they refuse to install better coverage.

Where I live I cannot get 3G, all I ever get is maybe 1 bar of GSM.

FUCK the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967407)

I have a 40 watt cell phone booster and I use it every day.

Come and get me, motherfuckers.

Government knows what is best for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967409)

All you complainers should just quit and submit to all-knowing, all-powerful government. You have no voice in the matter. When the Republicans are in power they'll regulate your morals, when Democrats are in power they'll institute equalization programs. When either are in power, they'll regulate your guns, soda size, salt intake, how much you should exercise and whether you can use a styrofoam food container.

Or you could just say, "I aim to misbehave."

Could this article be more misleading? (5, Informative)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42967447)

I doubt it. The article, and the summary in particular is spreading quote a bit of fud. Specifically, the FCC does not say you have to turn anything off. Most of the questions people are posting about research is answered on the document linked right on the homepage of fcc.gov. Here, since most seem to lazy: https://www.fcc.gov/ [fcc.gov] or specifically: https://www.fcc.gov/document/use-and-design-signal-boosters-report-and-order [fcc.gov] Here's an important excerpt:

In order to use a Consumer Signal Booster, a consumer must:
Have some form of consent from his/her wireless provider to operate the Consumer
Signal Booster. We note that Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and the RTG
member companies have made voluntary commitments to consent to all Consumer Signal
Boosters that meet the Network Protection Standard.42 Therefore, we expect that
subscribers of these companies will not need to specifically seek consent from these
providers, or other providers who make similar “blanket” consent commitments, for
Consumer Signal Boosters that meet the Network Protection Standard.

So, consent is needed, and most providers have already given blanket consent.

Maybe the boys over at ARS didn't bother to read anything other than the limited FAQ, either? Or more likely they did like any "news" organization and selectively picked out the pieces that would get them the most hits on their website regardless of how they were bending the truth.

Re:Could this article be more misleading? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967555)

So, consent is needed, and most providers have already given blanket consent.

Citation needed.

Re:Could this article be more misleading? (5, Informative)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42967699)

So, consent is needed, and most providers have already given blanket consent.

Citation needed.

Are you trolling? I did post the citation. Here it is again: https://www.fcc.gov/document/use-and-design-signal-boosters-report-and-order [fcc.gov]

Re:Could this article be more misleading? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42968099)

So they've given blanket consent to signal boosters they've blessed. They haven't blessed all of them. Not all boosters "meet the Network Protection Standard". So it depends on your definition of blanket.

They're not trying to track down the repeaters they sell themselves, they're trying to track down the ones that saturate and make unusable the licensed spectrum they spent billions of dollars acquiring. So guess what. You may have to turn your cell repeater off. The FCC is cracking down on it. Thus, story.

Re:Could this article be more misleading? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#42968053)

Someone mod this to +5 informative. It makes most other rambling above completely pointless.

Can't get coverage without booster? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42967465)

So you can't get coverage in your location without booster, and you need to call your provider to ask permission to turn the booster on, but you can't get signal to make the call? What then, telegram?

Re:Can't get coverage without booster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967737)

The antenna for your booster is in a location with service, by definition. Make your call from the same location the antenna is in.

Booster Trouble... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967565)

So about five years ago everyone in the office was complaining about how they had "No Service" on their cell phones... so I went ahead and installed a "booster"-- an outdoor antenna with amp connected to an indoor antenna.

A few months later, some gentlemen from "AT&T Security" showed up at my office and told me they had been trying to diagnose problems with their nearby tower for several months... until they spotted the outdoor antenna on my building, and aimed some sort of gadget at it and discovered it to be a booster. They said the problem was that their antenna system was seeing the increased signal strength of my booster antenna as if their system was receiving strong signals from cell phones in the neighborhood, and their system was automatically lowering its output signal strength, causing users in the area to have dropped calls and poor connections...

They told me that legally they, as a carrier, had priority on the cell spectrum and I had no choice but to turn off or be fined. So if someone's booster is interfering with public cell use, they WILL hunt you down and pry it from your cold, dead hands.

Re:Booster Trouble... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42968015)

They said the problem was that their antenna system was seeing the increased signal strength of my booster antenna as if their system was receiving strong signals from cell phones in the neighborhood, and their system was automatically lowering its output signal strength, causing users in the area to have dropped calls and poor connections...

Actually, cell phones are supposed to modulate their output to suit the distance and attenuation between themselves and the base station. The fact that your booster revealed itself with a higher signal strength indicates that it does not properly implement that function.

There may be 'boosters' or repeaters that are tested and approved by the carrier. Ask and they may provide you with a list.

How about no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967755)

They can pretend that telling people to turn them off will do something or they can face reality.

Back up plan (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#42967907)

So Sprint users are supposed to go back to smoke signals and semaphore flags?

Re:Back up plan (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42968041)

So Sprint users are supposed to go back to smoke signals and semaphore flags?

Since Sprint has already issued blanket consent for boosters, Sprint users are supposed to keep using their boosters.

Land of the Free, home of the Brave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967923)

My ass. This place is turning into a totalitarian's wet dream.

OK But with it off I can't make a call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967937)

I turned mine off and I tried to call them but I couldn't get a signal. Now what do I do?

Who the hell is paying the FCC for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42968047)

I hate to point out the obvious, but the reason you use a cell phone booster is because you barely get service. Under those conditions, what are the odds of significant interference? The solution of "let's make something poor people do illegal" instead of "require cellular companies to push out a ubiquitious mesh network so that boosters aren't necessary" is typical corporate/FCC corruption. If there's significant intererence, it's the phone companies problem. Let *them* solve it.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42968085)

Isn't ensuring that the registered users of spectrum don't violate the spectrum bands part of the FCC's mandate? I remember previous discussions on here about some company who wanted to use a particular frequency for communication, but it was struck down because while theoretically it was supposed to be low-energy, in practice it would have been like planting a spotlight next to the adjacent spectrum bands - it would have drowned them out.

FCC can bite me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42968111)

I think i will go buy one and use one.. Never needed one but if it pisses off the FCC then I am all in..

Sounds right to me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42968129)

This is no different from telling people that they can't just build an extra observation tower on their building because they want a better view and need a tall tower to see more than just the other houses.

Making other people's situation worse just so you can make yours better isn't right.

Same with that satellite company who wanted to use over-amped signals that would swamp other FCC-compliant devices in the unregulated spectrum.

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