The FCC yesterday approved a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to create a MedRadio band from 401-406 MHz that would allocate an additional 2 MHz of spectrum for radio transmissions from implanted and body-worn medical devices.

Currently, the 402-405 MHz Medical Implant Communications Services (MICS) band is used for radio transmissions from implanted medical devices. Under the MedRadio proposal, the rules for this band would remain, including requirements that implanted devices be frequency agile.

Under the proposal, adjacent spectrum—at 401-402 MHz and at 405-406 MHz—could be used for the same purpose and to communicate with medical devices worn on the body, an FCC spokesperson said. In addition, the MedRadio proposal would not require devices operating on this spectrum to be frequency agile, which would allow for the use of lower-power technologies.

During yesterday’s meeting, FCC commissioners applauded the advances in such medical devices, which can be used for myriad purposes. Existing uses include controlling the delivery of insulin to a diabetic. Future devices could use a microchip to improve the sight of the visually-impaired and technology that would let quadriplegics control artificial limbs via interfaces with the brain and nervous system.

“This is really exciting … from the standpoint of helping people,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said.

Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate echoed this sentiment, noting that medical-device advancements are resulting in “science fiction” rapidly becoming “science fact.”