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john65pennington's avatar

Did the FCC(Federal Communication Commission) make the correct decision with cellphones?

Asked by john65pennington (29080 points ) December 13th, 2010

The FCC had a choice to make: to either allow Citizen Band Radios to take over the frequency band or allow the frequency for commerical use and cellphone telephones. I cannot imagine what it would be like without cellphones. What if Citizen Band Radio had been the choice of the FCC? Would the “good buddies” have taken over the airwaves with their high-powered radios and driven us all crazy? Question: if the FCC had granted the cellphone frequencies to citizen band, what type of problems do you believe would have developed from it?

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5 Answers

MissPoovey's avatar

Okay here is my opinion.
I think we would’ve saved alot of money. I have had 3 different phones, my husband has had 6.
I believe we would all be using very sophisticated walkie talkies to speak to each other. Each of us would have our own channel/frequency. When you wanted to speak to me you would click my number just like a phone, except it would have been a channel.
The way we would’ve saved money is that anyone can make a radio like object to pick up air waves, and we cannot with phones. That means competition is lower for phones and makes them more expensive.
Ofcourse, you would have to buy your channel, so I don’t know how much they would charge for that.
I could be wrong and way off, but thats my opinion such as it is.

ragingloli's avatar

Humans would have been driven to develop subspace communication faster. Now they will waste centuries with communicating by primitive radio technology.

koanhead's avatar

@john65pennington Could you cite the decision by the FCC, and maybe provide a link? I would like more information about this.
Anyway, most cell phones work very differently from CB radio. CB radios are relatively high-powered and occupy a channel when operating (a “channel” being a range of frequencies of a certain width). They operate in half-duplex mode (they can both transmit and receive, but not simultaneously) and are promiscuous (every radio on a channel “hears” and “talks to” every other radio on the channel). CB radios can operate independently of base stations or repeaters, and each one broadcasts an analog signal.
Analog signals are tremendously wasteful of bandwidth. For this reason and others, you can operate many many cellphones on the same “channel” as a few CB radios.
Once you get 20 or so CB’ers talking on a channel, one of two conditions happens:
1) No one can understand anything because everyone is talking at once; or
2) Nice folks wait a long time for their turn to talk.
Neither of these is particularly good.
Most cell phones these days are digital and use “frequency hopping spread spectrum” techniques, which means that the phone can “hop around” between frequencies in a “channel” in order to avoid interference. Also, as mentioned, digital signals are more economical to transmit than analog ones. Digital receivers on a “channel” can tell which signals are intended for them and ignore all others. Also phones can appear to transmit and receive at the same time even if they really are not. (I don’t know whether they do or don’t, but since most phones have only one antenna don’t think they can.)
So, if as many people were using CB radios now as currently use cell phones, they would use up a tremendous amount of bandwidth; there might not be enough clear air for any other radios at all, and everything you said on your CB would be heard by hundreds (at least) of other people.
Come to think of it, that last might not be so bad…

meiosis's avatar

If the FCC had taken that decision, the long term effect would be very little, as the rest of the world would not have made such a monumental mistake, and you would have eventually had to reverse the decision. To all the negative aspects that @koanhead mentions, you can also add in the tiny transmission range possible with CB radios, compared to the worldwide range the mobile phone and base station system provides.

Qingu's avatar

Cite this decision, and stop posting these questions without citing what you’re talking about.

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