Alarms are going off in the Ground Penetrating Radar world over planned federal rules to restrict use of GPR.
The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules in February, but has yet to publish them to start the 60-day clock to make them effective, leaving open a window for reconsideration. The rules govern civilian use of "ultra-wideband" technology.
Frequencies are restricted to below 960 MHz or between 3.1 and 10.6 GHz. Eliminated would be some bands now used for construction site evaluation. Permitted users would include law enforcement and emergency personnel, scientific institutes and construction companiesbut not consultants. Julius Knapp, the FCC's deputy chief officer of engineering and technology, says contractors can request interpretation of the rules if they need to use consultants. He says he is "fairly confidant consultants working with a construction company wouldn't have a problem."
Operating firms also will have to meet an 80% U.S. ownership test and citizenship requirements. In addition, FCC will require 15 days' notice before allowing any but emergency GPR survey work.
According to the FCC, the rules are based on standards from another agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. NTIA safeguards against interference to federal government operations, already a user of UWB. Two of the three FCC commissioners voting with the chairman on the new rules issued statements expressing dissatisfaction with the broad restrictions of the measure. They call for further study and review. Industry interests are rallying at www.g-p-r.com.