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FCC Modernizes Personal Radio Services Rules
RADIO ONLINE | Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 12:44pm CT

Today, the FCC took steps to update the Personal Radio Services rules, also known as Part 95 of the Commission's rules, in order to modernize them, remove outdated requirements, and reorganize them to make it easier to find information. Significantly, as part of this effort, the FCC addressed more than two dozen proposals submitted by interested parties. Today's action will result in a more consistent, clear, and concise set of rules that will better serve the needs of the public.

The FCC Personal Radio Services rules cover a wide variety of wireless devices that are used by the general public. These devices generally use low power levels, communicate over shared radio frequencies, and usually do not require an individual FCC license for each user. Some common examples of Personal Radio Services devices are walkie-talkies; radio control toy cars, boats, and planes; hearing assistance devices; CB radios; medical implant devices; and Personal Locator Beacons.

The revisions adopted today reflect a comprehensive reform that will simplify, streamline, and update these rules. These changes will ensure that these rules reflect technological advances, recognize the 21st century uses of the Personal Radio Services, and are easy for the public to use and understand.

Specific reforms adopted in today's Report and Order include:

  • GMRS/FRS Reform: The Commission will increase the number of communications channels for both General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS), expand digital capabilities to GMRS, and increase the power/range for certain FRS channels to meet consumer demands for longer range communications.
  • CB Reform: The Commission will update the Citizens Band (CB) rules, which are decades old and contain outdated requirements that are no longer needed, including labeling requirements and a limit on use of channels when conditions allow long range communications. The Commission will also clarify that hands-free devices can be used with CB radios.
  • Overall rule reform: The Commission will remove outdated and unnecessary rules, change other rules to increase clarity and reduce potential confusion, and reorganize and streamline all Part 95 rules to make them easier to understand. The Commission will also convert rules to plain language format to make them more user-friendly.

Action by the Commission May 18, 2017 by Report and Order (FCC 17-57). Chairman Pai, and Commissioners Clyburn and O'Rielly approving and issuing separate statements.

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