FCC Approves Waivers for Health Monitoring

On April 30, the FCC adopted two Orders greenlighting use of wireless spectrum for health monitoring. They first adopted an Order on Reconsideration granting TerreStar a conditional waiver to allow it to deploy wireless medical telemetry service operations at 1.4 GHz, a reversal of the Commission’s denial of TerreStar’s request in 2017. In reaching its new determination, the FCC evaluated “new information regarding the interference potential to the wireless medical telemetry service (WMTS) and the need for additional WMTS spectrum for the benefit of public health and safety, as well as the recent commitment of TerreStar to ‘provide spectrum capacity and frequency planning and coordination services, free of charge, outside of registered WMTS healthcare facilities in support of any future national public health emergency declared by the U.S. Department Health and Human Services.”

The FCC also granted a request by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for a waiver of Sections 15.31(c), 15.503(d), and 15.521(d) of the Commission’s Part 15 rules to permit the certification and marketing of indoor health monitoring devices that it calls the WiTrack system, a wall-mounted system that provides non-invasive health and safety monitoring for patients and senior adults. A WiTrack device is designed to measure physiological characteristics such as gait, breathing, heart rate, and sleep, and facilitates the detection of potentially life-threatening events, such as falls.

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