The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association has urged the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that any rules it issues to govern the future development of cognitive radios adequately protect consumers. The CTIA was responding to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the commission last month.

CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said such radios potentially could create interference to “existing licensees upon which millions of American consumers already depend.”

“The FCC should consider the technical and economic feasibility of cognitive radios—and confirm through actual testing that they will not interfere with other consumer services—before adopting any final rules in this proceeding,” Largent said in a statement.

The FCC is seeking comment on how the commission can remove regulatory impediments to foster continued development and deployment of cognitive, or “smart” radios. Specifically, the commission wants input on whether it should allow licensed spectrum users to deploy smart radios in an effort to increase spectrum efficiency. The FCC also wants to know whether it should allow licensees to lease their spectrum access to third parties using the technology to open secondary spectrum markets.

Due to their innate intelligence, smart radios can determine whether certain transmissions are permissible and determine the optimal frequencies to use in order to avoid interference. They often can interpret and transmit signals in different formats or modulation schemes. They are seen as a way of utilizing spectrum more efficiently, because they are able to identify and use vacant spectrum channels.

Smart radios also are seen as a solution to interoperability issues that plague public-safety organizations, particularly first responders.

In other news, CTIA has named former board member and AirTouch executive Brian Kidney chief operating officer. Prior to joining CTIA, Kidney operated a San Francisco-based consulting firm. He served as AirTouch's vice president of external affairs from 1994-2000.