FCC Equipment Authorization Rule Change Transitions Now in Effect

On November 2, 2017, the FCC’s revised equipment authorization rules were published in the Federal Register and took effect immediately. Our advisory details those rule revisions. The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) had earlier determined that the new rules included no changes to the existing information collection requirements that required further OMB review before they could take effect.

The publication firms up the dates for the one-year transition period regarding the continued availability of the current Commission equipment authorization procedures prior to marketing or operation -- verification and Declaration of Conformity (“DoC”) -- while the new Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (“SDoC”) is also available for use for equipment that qualified under one or both of the two pre-existing processes. During the transition, for affected unlicensed unintentional radiators, one of these processes (or certification as an alternative in some cases) must be followed, as applicable per Section 15.101 of the FCC’s rules prior to the new changes (for verification or DoC) or as revised (for SDoC). Note that there were no changes in the recent order to the categories of unintentional radiators that, as an alternative in some instances, also allow use of the certification procedures (which unlike the other processes we’ve mentioned require application and approval by Telecommunications Certification Bodies).

Through November 2, 2018, unlicensed devices that could have qualified for and have been subject to either the verification or DoC process under the rules in effect prior to November 2, 2017, can continue to use those processes. However, such devices may now go through the new SDoC as an alternative option.

However, responsible parties are well abused to take heed that, for any equipment that was first qualified through the verification or DoC process at any time, if there are changes after November 2, 2018, that would require the modified equipment to undergo a separate authorization process before it can be marketed and operated, those modified devices must go through the SDoC procedure (or certification if available) to cover the changes.

After November 2, 2018, all new models of unintentional radiators (unless there is an exception to the equipment authorization procedures) must go through either the SDoC self-approval” procedure or, if applicable per Section 15.101, the certification approval process. On and after November 3, 2018, the verification and DoC procedures will no longer be available for any device types. But responsible parties, distributors, and retailers can be assured that equipment authorized under either one of those two procedures being phased out may continue to be marketed and operated indefinitely provided there are no changes requiring a new authorization.