The Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Chairman, Julius Genachowski, unveiled a plan to release new wireless spectrum to support the development of Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs), saying the new spectrum will help advance patient safety and device innovation.
Under the plan, MBANs, or networks composed of multiple wireless medical devices capable of communicating with one another, will be bolstered by a "multi-track mobile action plan to free up more spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use," said Genachowski at a 17 May press conference.
The proposal is set to go before a meeting of the FCC the week of 21-25 May, and would open up the 2360-2400 MHz spectrum band "by allowing distinct but compatible users to share" the spectrum.
"If the Commission approves these rules at next week's open commission meeting, it will make the US the first country in the world to dedicate spectrum for MBANs in hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices," explained Genachowski.
Genachowsi also explained the new spectrum would provide the medical device industry with "the certainty they need to streamline their product development, which for many years operated on a variety of frequencies."
"I expect [the release of new spectrum] will eventually lead to technologies not just for health care facilities, but also for in-home use," said Genachowski.
Genachowski ascribed a number of potential benefits to new MBAN-dedicated spectrum, including the potential to provide more reliable service, increased capacity for MBAN devices, improved quality of patient care through more holistic monitoring, decreased expenses by easing market entry, and fewer errors and infections due to complicated devices.
Video of Genachowski's Remarks
Regulatory Focus - FCC Pushing to Release New Spectrum for Medical Devices