FCC Seeks Comment on Proposed Overhaul of RF Equipment Rules: All Stakeholders Will be Impacted


By its recent release of a certain Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is sending a strong message to all businesses that manufacture, import, market, or operate radiofrequency (“RF”) devices:  “Your ways of doing business are about to change.”  Text of the NPRM is here.

This NPRM marks the FCC’s first comprehensive review of its RF equipment rules since 1998; its effects will be borne by virtually all entities in the RF equipment supply chain.  Because the NPRM contains proposed rule changes that will strongly impact businesses’ costs and regulatory practices with regard to RF equipment, it is critical that affected entities be informed and proactive.   There is a short window of time for interested parties to influence this proceeding:  The deadline for filing comments is September 8, 2015.  Reply comments are due by September 21, 2015.

Asserting that a rapidly growing “RF equipment ecosystem” has necessitated rule alterations, the FCC targets, and seeks comment on, its proposed overhaul of following regulatory areas:

  • Self-authorization procedures for non-transmitting RF devices;
  • Certification of modular transmitters and software defined radios (“SDRs”);
  • New designation of the responsible parties for rule compliance regarding modular transmitters and general RF device modification; 
  • Confidentiality of market-sensitive information;
  • RF device labeling, including electronic labeling;
  • Importation and customs regulations;
  • Trade show use of unauthorized RF devices;
  • Elimination of exempted RF device categories; and
  • Streamlining and consolidation of various specific rule parts.

The FCC’s proposed rule overhaul is varied and complex; a detailed analysis of the planned changes is beyond the scope of this alert.   Due to the sweeping nature of these projected rule changes, we urge all clients who have a stake in the RF equipment marketplace to become informed about the specifics of this proceeding and consider submitting comments to protect their interests.

if you would like additional information concerning the NPRM or related issues, please contact Senior Managing Attorney Ronald E. Quirk, Jr. at (703) 714-1305 or req@commlawgroup.com.

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