ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

FCC veteran to teach course on wireless policy, innovation

ECE 6604 Spectrum Policy and Wireless Innovation

September 13, 2012 —In the spring 2013 semester, Michael Marcus, a former senior technical advisor at the Federal Communications Commission, will teach ECE 6604, “Advanced Topics in Communications: Spectrum Policy and Wireless Innovation.”

The course will review the legal and technical issues in spectrum management, focusing on the issues involved in bringing a new radio technology into use. The discussion will focus on the US regulatory system, including the regulations of the International Telecommunications Union and agreements with Canada and Mexico.

Ongoing and recent FCC spectrum proceedings will serve as case studies. Students will be asked to read and discuss actual FCC filings on technical spectrum policy controversies and then write their own draft comments for FCC on their analyses of the issues involved. Students will be encouraged, but not required, to file their analysis of a current issue with the FCC.

The course will be available to students at the Blacksburg, Northern Virginia, and Lynchburg sites.

Spread Spectrum Pioneer

Marcus joined the FCC in 1979 and retired in 2004 after serving as a senior technical advisor. While at the FCC, he proposed and developed policies for cutting-edge radio technologies. His legacy includes the widely-used Wi-Fi networking technology.

In 1994, he received the Electrotechnology Transfer Award from the IEEE-USA “For his pioneering work in the conception, drafting, and enactment of the Federal regulations that legalized commercial spread spectrum radio under FCC Part 15, the rules governing unlicensed devices; thus spawning a multimillion dollar, worldwide, wireless industry.” In 2004, he was named an IEEE Fellow “for leadership in the development of spectrum management policies.”

After his retirement, Marcus served as a special advisor to the European Commissioner for Information Society & Media, and he now runs an independent consulting firm focusing on wireless policy. He also serves as a visiting associate professor at MIT and a professorial lecturer at George Washington University.