Today (6/15/2016) the FCC sent out in their Daily Digest a public notice and a Memorandum Opinion and Order and Order on Reconsideration dealing with the changes they made earlier this year on laboratory approvals for the Certification approval process.
Earlier this year the FCC made changes that eliminate “FCC Listing” and require that all labs performing testing for the Certification process become an FCC Recognized Accredited Test Laboratory. The change was to go into effect on July 13 of this year.
What did this mean for a manufacturer? If the manufacturer had been using a test lab that is not a Recognized Accredited lab they will have to change laboratories. FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratories are presently located in the following countries or groups of countries:
United States, Canada, EU, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel
These countries have Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with the FCC. If a laboratory is physically located in a country not on this list it is not an FCC Recognized Accredited Test Laboratory and can not be used for testing for the Certification approval process after July 13, 2016.
As of the publication of the documents noted at the top of this article the FCC has done a couple things.
First, based on comments received from a number of parties, the deadline has been delayed by one year. FCC Listed laboratories may now be used until July 13, 2017.
Second, the Commission has directed its Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) to “publish, pursuant to the authority provided in our rules, specific guidance as to the form and substance” the mechanism by which an Accrediting Body (AB) would make its request for approval as an AB for labs outside of countries which have an MRA with the FCC. This publication will occur in OET’s Knowledge Database (KDB). Once an AB is approved for accrediting labs in a non-MRA country then laboratories accredited by that AB may be used for Certification (and, by extension, Declaration of Conformity) approvals.
This change does not go into effect until 30 days after the publication of a summary of this Report and Order in the Federal Register. It will happen, but the date is not known at this time. Given the short time until July 13, 2016 I would expect this to be fairly quick.
The FCC has moved a bit on this matter and laboratories located outside countries with MRAs with the FCC are being granted a reprieve. If you want the actual Report and Order, it may be found at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-74A1.docx.