FCC Updates Equipment Authorization Rules


In its July 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) will vote on a Report and Order (“R&O”)  containing new rules that will impact how RF equipment manufacturers, vendors, importers, and distributors may conduct their businesses.  The FCC emphasized the importance of the new regulations on the RF equipment industry, stating that the proposed overhaul consists of a “wide range of equipment approval issues of a technical, legal, and practical nature, impacting a diverse set of stakeholders, each of whom will need to closely analyze and consider the potential impact of the rule changes.”

Because the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules strictly prohibit (with limited exceptions) the marketing, testing, and operation of unauthorized RF equipment, it is critical that stakeholders at all levels of the RF equipment supply chain be aware of the new rules.   The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau will not hesitate to impose substantial monetary forfeitures and other sanctions on parties that violate the RF equipment rules.

The rules put forth in the R&O are just the beginning.  Rule changes affecting the following topics will be addressed in subsequent proceedings: (a) modular component certfication; (b) responsible parties for refurbished devices; (c) software and firmware security requirements; and (d) confidentiality of information contained in RF equipment certifcation applications.

The new rules affect:

  • Self-approval authorization techniques for non-transmitting RF devices.
  • RF Equipment Importation Rules.
  • Electronic labeling of RF devices,
  • Measurement procedures and standards.

This summary is a high-level overview of some of the changes the FCC is proposing to its RF equipment regulations.   Due to the complexity and comprehensive nature of the proposed regulation changes, an exhaustive summary is well beyond the scope of this advisory.

If you would like additional information concerning the proposed RF equipment rule changes, including those not including in this advisory, please contact IoT attorney Ronald E. Quirk, Jr. at (703) 714-1305 or req@commlawgroup.com.  Further information about The CommLaw Group’s Internet of Things practice is available here.

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