Faced with the rapid growth of increasingly complex wireless products, the FCC proposes to upgrade its equipment authorization program to prevent harmful interference without stifling innovation and product development.
***Please note: Comments are due on October 9, 2015 and Reply Comments are due on November 9, 2015.***
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to reform its equipment authorization rules to keep pace with the soaring rise in the number of innovative radiofrequency (RF) products being introduced to meet escalating consumer and business demand for a broad range of devices.
The rule changes outlined in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will affect all RF devices, defined as devices that emit RF energy by any means, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This definition would include (to name just a few): devices for mobile communications, broadband access, wireless networking, wireless medical devices, cordless phones, business and personal computing equipment and peripherals, wireless audio, radio receivers, TV interface devices, microwave ovens, and TV and FM receivers. The FCC’s proposed action (the first major overhaul of the equipment program since the last reform more than 15 years ago) is warranted, according to the FCC, by the evolution of the manner in which “today’s RF equipment is being designed, manufactured, and marketed—as well as the sheer number of such devices that need to be authorized.”
Evaluation and approval of equipment under the FCC’s equipment authorization rules is the FCC’s primary means for ensuring that RF devices operating in the United States do not cause harmful interference and otherwise comply with FCC rules. The FCC enforces these rules by prohibiting, with some exceptions, the marketing (including sale, advertising, display, and shipping) of an RF device before it has gained FCC approval or otherwise complies with the FCC equipment authorization rules. The equipment rules are even more important today with the advent of the Internet of Things and as new technical developments fuel rapid growth in the global electronics industry.
In an 80-plus page NPRM, the FCC proposes to streamline and update the equipment rules to do the following:
These proposals raise a wide range of equipment approval issues that affect technical and legal requirements and compliance, as well as many practical considerations, including product development timeframes and relative responsibilities of parties in the manufacturing and distribution chain. Interested parties include manufacturers (including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)), test houses (including authorized Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCBs)), importers, distributers, and electronics manufacturing service companies.
The FCC is soliciting public input on the proposed changes in Comments and Reply comments.At the behest of several industry associations and a standards committee (ANSI), the FCC agreed to an extended period for public input on the “complex technical issues” raised in this NPRM.
The deadline to file comments regarding the proposed rules is October 9, 2015, and reply comments are due November 9, 2015.
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