Today, the deadline was established for filing comments in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) pertaining to the marketing, sale and importation of radiofrequency (RF) devices that have not yet obtained equipment authorization. Specifically, the NPRM proposes to allow manufacturers to make conditional sales of pre-authorization devices directly to consumers, and would also permit the importation of a limited number of pre-authorization RF devices for new types of pre-sale activities. Last month, the FCC unanimously voted to approve the NPRM in response to a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Section 302 of the Communications Act empowers the FCC to create rules governing the interference potential of devices capable of emitting radio frequency energy and which can cause harm to consumers or other radio communications. This authority covers multitudes of everyday consumer objects, from toaster ovens to the most advanced mobile communication devices. To keep pace with the speed of innovation and consumer demand, the FCC regularly updates its equipment authorization rules for such devices. In its petition, CTA argued that the FCC’s existing rules act as a “speed bump” in the race to develop and deploy new products and do not reflect the current direct-to-consumer online marketplace.