New FCC Equipment Authorization Rules to Take Effect July 13, 2015

In an earlier blog post, we reported on the Federal Communications Commission’s December 30, 2014, decision to expand the role of Telecommunications Certifications Bodies (“TCBs”), requiring them to process all applications for transmitters and other equipment subject to the certification procedure. The FCC’s Order was recently published in the Federal Register, establishing the effective date for the new rules as July 13, 2015. As of that date, the FCC will no longer accept new applications for equipment authorization, and all such applications must be sent to TCBs. However, as before, only the FCC will be able to grant rule waivers associated with such applications, so advance planning remains paramount where a waiver is needed.

Among other changes, existing unaccredited laboratories that have heretofore been recognized as providing testing services to support certification applications under criteria in Section 2.948 of the FCC’s Rules will be recognized only through the expiration date of their submissions for recognition as such, after which time they will have to be accredited under the FCC’s rules to continue to perform testing for certification applications. Testing from such Section 2.948 laboratories will only be accepted through July 13, 2016, and may support certification applications only until 15 months after the effective date. Manufacturers and other responsible parties should take heed of this change and ensure that they choose laboratories with the proper qualifications for the certification and Declaration of Conformity procedures.

Further, the new rules update references to industry measurement procedures in the Commission’s rules for Part 15 unintentional and intentional radiators, specifically ANSI C63.4-2014 and ANSI C63.10-2013 (subject to certain limited qualifications). Transition provisions apply by which earlier currently acceptable versions of these standards (e.g., ANSI C63.4–2003, ANSI C63.4–2009, and ANSI C63.10-2009) may still be used through July 13, 2016.

Additional changes are discussed in our earlier blog post and in the Order itself, summarized in the Federal Register.