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GAO Report Outlines Options for Better Wireless Receiver Performance (2/25/13)
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) outlined options to improve wireless receiver performance.

GAO studied four areas related to improving receiver performance, including?actions taken by manufacturers and commercial licensees, actions taken by the federal government, challenges and?options identified by stakeholders.

The GAO recommended that the FCC collect information on the practical effects of options to improve receiver performance. FCC said it had initiated such a fact-gathering process. The GAO said the FCC’s process to date might not provide information on the practical effects of these options.

The FCC said it lacks general authority to impose receiver standards, and it instead relies on the marketplace to improve receiver performance. In specific cases, FCC has provided incentives for nonfederal spectrum users to improve receivers.

Stakeholders identified three challenges to improving receiver performance:

1. Lack of coordination across industries when developing voluntary standards. Standards are often developed for a single industry and not coordinated with those using adjacent spectrum.

2. Lack of incentives for manufacturers or spectrum users to incur costs associated with using more robust receivers. The benefits of improved receiver performance, namely freed-up spectrum for new services and users, often accrue to others and not those incurring the costs to improve receivers.

3. Difficulty accommodating a changing spectrum environment. When spectrum is repurposed for a new use, upgrading or replacing receivers in use to mitigate interference can be difficult and take considerable time.

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