The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the launch of a new ‘Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity’ (SDoC), in July 2017. The new SDoC amalgamates two existing self-approval procedures into one, helping to reduce confusion over which process applies to any given product.
The two procedures that are currently used to authorize equipment are, in essence, self-approval processes arranged by the responsible party.
The two systems are:
- “Verification” – used for radio frequency (RF) equipment. Well understood testing methodology for low interference-risk products. The responsible party follows the necessary steps (testing or analysis) to ensure the product is compliant. It has a high compliance rate
- ‘Declaration of Conformity’ (DoC) – instituted primarily for personal computer equipment when test procedures had not fully been established. Requires advanced technical expertise as the equipment can cause harmful interference if it was not tested properly. This means, DoC products must be tested in an accredited laboratory and have a written compliance statement from the manufacturer included in product literature. A specific FCC logo must also be included on the equipment identification label
These procedures amount to self-approval processes and are distinguished from the more rigorous certification processes used on equipment that employs new technologies, involves complex testing procedures, or has a high risk of causing harmful interference.
The replacement of the two existing self-approval procedures with a single process follows the FFCs acknowledgement that test procedures for personal computer equipment and other devices currently subject to the DoC procedure, are now well-understand and have been finalized for a sufficiently long period of time. The removal of the requirement for testing by accredited laboratories brings the two procedures closer together and, because there is a strong record of compliance, there is a minimal risk of harmful interference.
By introducing the SDoC, with its less rigorous verification testing requirements, the FCC will reduce the burden of self-approval authorizations. In addition, the FCC has removed the requirement to display the FCC logo on equipment, but it has retained the prerequisite for displaying a compliance statement and the identity of the responsible party. These will be applied to all self-approved devices, although it does not have to be displayed on the device and can be included with supporting documentation. This is a new requirement for ‘Verified’ devices but it replaces the requirement for a verified device to display a label on the device demonstrating its compliance.
Overall, these changes represent a reduction in the burden generated by the old systems of verification and DoC. In addition, they represent a significate simplification of the rules for electrical and electronic product manufacturers.
Following the approval of the proposals by the Office of Management and Budget, the FFC is proposing to make these changes effective immediately upon their publication in the Federal Register. The proposals also make allowance for manufacturers to continue with the current systems of self-approval for a period of up to one year from the effective date.
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