Telecommunications Certification Bodies
Under FCC General Docket No. 98-96, the FCC turned the approval process for radio or telecommunications equipment over to a qualified third-party reviewer within the private sector. The process is called the Telecommunication Certified Body (TCB) Program. The general think is that the Telecommunications Certified Body program would provide a faster way to obtain approvals for radio and/or telecommunications equipment.
The FCC proposal of the Telecommunication Certified Body program included the following.
- Streamlining the equipment authorization process by enabling designated private parties in the United States to approve equipment as an alternative to certification by the FCC>
- Modifying the FCC rules to all mutual recognition agreement (MRA) for product approvals with the European Union (EU). This would allow for similar agreements with other foreign trade partners,
- Adopting an interim procedure to issue equipment approvals for global mobile personal communications by satellite (GMPCS) terminals.
The telecommunication certified body program went into effect in June 2000 with 13 designated TCBs. In November 2000 the FCC stopped accepting any request for FCC Part certification of Part 15 computers and peripherals. If an FCC ID number was desired, the only choice was to use the Telecommunication Certified Body program.
The FCC does not authorize TCBs directly. The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and individual accreditors make recommendations to FCC for final approval and inclusion in the listing of TCBs. Telecommunication Certified Bodies are accredited in accordance with the appropriate FCC rules and ISO/IEC Guide 65’ “General Requirements For Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems.
Accreditation is available for several different areas of equipment certification. Telecommunication Certified Bodies. TCBs can choose accreditation in any or all of the available areas. The different areas are as follows:
Unlicensed radio-frequency (RF) devices.
- Low-power transmitters operating on frequencies below 1 GHz, with the exception of spread-spectrum devices: emergency alert systems; unintentional radiators (e.g., personal computers and associated peripherals and TV-interface devices); and consumer industrial, scientific, and medical (SIM) devices subject o certification (e.g., microwave ovens, RF lighting, and other consumer ISM devices).
- Low-power transmitters operating on frequencies above 1 GHz, with the exception of spread-spectrum devices.
- Unlicensed personal communication systems (PCS) devices.
- Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (ENII) devices and low-power transmitters using spread-spectrum techniques.
Licensed radio service equipment.
- Personal mobile radio services in 47 CFR Part 22 (cellular), 24, 25, 26, and 27.
- General mobile radio service in 47 CFR Part 22 (on cellular), 74, 90, 95, and 97.
- Maritime and aviation radio service in 47 CFR Parts 80 and 87.
- Microwave radio services in 47 CFR Part 21 74, and 101.
- Telecommunications equipment in 47 CFR Part 68.
The Telecommunication Certification Body is obligated to follow the FCC model for certification procedures and practices. A TCB is expected to be exceedingly knowledgeable of the FCC rules, public notices, and all applicable test and measurement procedures. A TCB must accept applications and test data from a source, subject to the subcontracting clause of ISO Guide 65. There are several restrictions on a TCB. A TCB Many not make up rules. A TCB cannot waive the rules or certify a product for which there are no rules.
CCL is a Telecommunication Certification Body and is accredited in all the available areas. Call or e-mail CCL for a quote on any radio or telecommunications certification desired.