The FCC's equipment authorization system (EAS) is back in business.
Most radio frequency device applications are reviewed and granted by private Telecommunications Certification Bodies that must then enter the approved applications into the EAS system before the grant is effective, but the EAS system had been among those shuttered beginning Jan. 3 as part of the partial government shutdown.
But late Friday the FCC said that "[a]fter reviewing our statutory authority, the status of contract obligations and our lapse in funding plan, we will be reactivating this system today [Jan. 18]," but there will be no FCC staffers to consult on some more complex or ground-breaking tech, so those certification grants will have to wait until the FCC resumes normal operations and staffers are available to consult.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) praised the move.
"The FCC plays a vital role in ensuring that new products can be approved and brought to market," said TIA’s SVP of government affairs Cinnamon Rogers. "Most device approvals will be covered by today’s action, which will help eliminate the backlog and ensure that the U.S. ICT industry can maintain its position of global leadership in the worldwide race to 5G. TIA is very grateful to the Commission’s leadership for recognizing the importance of this issue and taking swift action to address it."
But there will still be a subset of devices that must await certification. "We continue to hope that the hard-working FCC staff can return to work soon so that the full panoply of ground-breaking technologies can be made available to consumers," said Rogers.