The FCC announced New Equipment Authorization Rules in the First Report and Order FCC 17-93 on July 13, 2017, and followed this on July 20 with a live webcast of a panel discussion featuring the FCC OET and lab division Chiefs providing details of the changes and answering manufacturer questions.
Highlights of the First Report and Order
- This report and order streamlines two self-approval processes for unintentional radiators into one Supplier Declaration of Conformity process.
- The report and order allows electronic labeling of FCC information, consistent with the E-Labeling act of 2014.
- The report and order formally discontinues the use of the FCC form 740 for importation of RF devices.
- The report and order revises measurement procedures to streamline requirements for devices used in different services.
Supplier Declaration of Conformity Equipment Authorization Process
Prior to now, there were two different self-approval processes for unintentional radiators/transmitters, as opposed to the certification process for intentional radiators. These processes were the Declaration of Conformity and Verification equipment authorization processes. Due to the fact that there was ambiguity as to which of these processes products were subject to, and that there were many similarities between the two processes, the FCC has done away with these two processes and created one Supplier Declaration of Conformity Process for unintentional transmitters.
As a result, the following changes now apply to all unintentional radiators subject to FCC self-approval process:
- The manufacturer is now responsible for drawing up a Supplier Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) for all self-approved unintentional radiators.
- The use of accredited labs for testing is no longer required since test methodology is now well established.
- The FCC logo is no longer required on any product but it is optional for manufacturers to keep using the logo on products that conform to the FCC rules if they so choose.
New E-Labeling feature
Due to changing times and the fact that many devices now have integrated screens that users interact with more than any other part of the equipment, labeling information and FCC statements will now be allowed to be presented electronically where users are more likely to interface with the product, such as smart phone screens, computer screens, and other electronic displays. The new e-labeling rule covers integrated screens and screen-connected devices (devices which need a display to operate normally but don’t have internal screens).
Devices that do not have integrated screens and do not need to be connected to screens in order to operate will continue to require pertinent information to be placed on the product label.
Warning labels and other emergency labels will continue to be required to be placed in the product packaging/regulatory information document.
Form 740 discontinuance
The FCC formerly required the form 740 to be filled out and submitted by manufacturers for all products being imported into the United States. This form contained information relating to the product equipment authorization type and other information in regards to its function. However, collection of this form has become burdensome as the number of products continue to increase exponentially, and the Customs and Border Patrol has implemented a new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) System which is web based and also collects and shares pertinent information with the FCC. As such, the FCC has decided to discontinue the collection of this form and this report and order eliminated the requirement that manufacturers complete it.
The final highlight of this revision of the FCC equipment authorization procedures deals with the revision of measurement procedures to streamline and consolidate requirements for devices used in different services so as to better respond to changing technologies and industry standards.