WASHINGTON, December 10, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today proposed enhancements to the Commission’s equipment authorization rules to grant limited, early-stage flexibility to innovators to accelerate the deployment of common consumer devices like cellphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers after FCC authorization. The proposed rule changes would allow radiofrequency device manufacturers and marketers to better position their devices for sale and distribution once a device has been authorized by the FCC. The FCC’s equipment authorization program helps to ensure that radiofrequency devices meet the FCC’s technical standards and do not result in harmful interference to other devices and operations.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today proposes allowing limited marketing and sale of wireless devices to consumers prior to equipment authorization so long as the devices are not actually provided to consumers until authorized by the FCC. The FCC’s equipment authorization program ensures that new wireless equipment is properly tested and meets all Commission technical standards. The requirements ensure, among other things, that devices operate at appropriate power levels and on the correct spectrum bands without interfering with other devices.

The proposal adopted today would also allow limited pre-authorization importation of radiofrequency devices into the United States for certain pre-sale activities. The proposed importation rule changes would allow for activities such as packaging and shipping devices to retail locations, as well as loading devices with specific software to demonstrate specific features and capabilities.

The Consumer Technology Association asked the Commission to revise its equipment authorization rules earlier this year. The Commission last modified these procedures in 2017. Today’s action will establish a public comment period on the proposed rule changes.

Action by the Commission December 10, 2020 by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 20-180). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks approving. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Rosenworcel, and Starks issuing separate statements.

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