xG Technology discusses rural broadband with FCC
Florida-based wireless startup xG Technology recently met with FCC officials about the possibility of the company’s cognitive-radio system being allowed to operate at higher power levels than other unlicensed technologies in rural areas in an effort to bring broadband to underserved areas of the country.
“The key item is to increase power in ultra-rural areas,” Pertti Alapuranen, xG Technology’s chief scientist, said during an interview. “This is an idea basically to reduce the cost for operators.”
During meetings last month, xG Technology CEO John Coleman and other representatives met with FCC officials to discuss the characteristics of the company’s xMax system, which is designed to deliver commercial-grade voice and data services over unlicensed spectrum. No formal requests were made during the trip, but xG Technology proposed the notion that xMax systems deployed in rural areas be allowed to radiate four times as much power as other Part 15 equipment in the 900 MHz unlicensed band, so fewer cell sites would be needed to provide coverage in low-population areas.
“What xG was asking the FCC basically was to increase the radiated power by a factor of four,” Alapuranen said. “The goal was not to go there and get a waiver, but to discuss the issue and get the facts in front of people, so there can be more work done and maybe make a waiver request later.”
Last year, the military tested the cognitive xMax system and expressed enthusiasm for its ability to avoid interference by dynamically moving to unused spectrum without introducing any noticeable latency, according to Mike McCarthy, director of operations for the Mission Command Complex at the Brigade Modernization Command at Fort Bliss, Texas. To complement this dynamic-spectrum access capability, xG Technology plans to unveil interference-mitigation capabilities for xMax during the first half of this year, Coleman said.
“We can mitigate interference significantly without disturbing the [spectral] environment,” Coleman said of the new capability, which is scheduled to be tested early this year.
In addition to commercial and enterprise applications, xG Technology officials also discussed potential public-safety and homeland-security applications of xMax with the FCC, Coleman said.