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Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D.C. 20554
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

Report No. GN 98-6 GENERAL ACTION May 14, 1998

(GEN. Docket 98-68)

As part of its biennial review of its rules and processes, the Commission has proposed modifications to its authorization rules for devices that emit radio frequency energy and for terminal equipment that may be attached to the telephone network. These modifications are intended to improve the efficiency of the equipment approval process so that communications equipment may be introduced more rapidly.

The Commission also has proposed modifications to implement the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the United States and the European Community (EC). A major objective of the MRA is to reduce the time it takes for manufacturers to get products into the markets of signatory countries by enabling manufacturers to have their products approved for sale in the United States or the EC.

Finally, the Commission has proposed the adoption of an interim procedure for the approval of Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS) terminals. GMPCS is delivered via global or regional satellite systems designed to transmit a combination of voice, data and video services to customers as they travel internationally. The Commission's proposal would benefit the GMPCS industry and its customers by facilitating worldwide product acceptance.

Specifically, the FCC proposed:

1) further streamlining of the equipment authorization process by enabling designated private parties in the United States to approve equipment as an alternative to certification by the Commission.

2) modifying its rules to implement an MRA for product approvals with the EC and to allow for similar agreements with other foreign trade partners. Under the US/EC MRA, products may be tested by private bodies in the United States for compliance with the technical requirements of EC member countries. Compliant equipment may then be approved for sale in the EC, with no further certification activity required. In return, the US/EC MRA enables parties in the EC to test and approve equipment for compliance with United States' requirements.

3) adopting an interim procedure to issue equipment approvals for Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS) terminals. In 1996, the ITU convened a World Telecommunications Policy Forum to focus on regulatory and technical issues related to the rapidly-developing GMPCS technology. Since that time, the United States, as a signatory to the international GMPCS MoU, has participated actively in developing the GMPCS MoU Arrangements governing terminals in the area of licensing, type approval, marking, sharing of traffic data and customs recommendations.

The Commission said global implementation of the MoU Arrangements could alleviate the potential for GMPCS terminals to be subject to duties or confiscation when users travel across national territories. While the FCC's International Bureau will soon undertake a proceeding to implement the final GMPCS MoU Arrangements for all GMPCS system-types in the near future, certain GMPCS systems that are now operating or are soon to be deployed could benefit globally from an interim FCC terminal approval procedure. The Commission has proposed a set of certification criteria in accordance with the current rules and in conjunction with a set of specific out-of-band emission proposals that are being evaluated under a separate Commission proceeding.

If enacted, these proposals should speed the equipment approval process, thereby promoting economic growth and spurring creation of new jobs in the telecommunications industry. They affect Parts 2, 68 and 25 of the Commission's rules.

Action by the Commission May 14, 1998, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 98-92). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani, with Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth issuing a separate statement.

- FCC -

News Media contact: Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0500.

Office of Engineering and Technology contact: Hugh Van Tuyl at (202) 418-7506 or Julius Knapp at (202) 418-2468; Common Carrier Bureau contact: Geraldine Matise at (202) 418-2320 or Vincent Paladini at (202) 418-2332; International Bureau contact: Tracey Weisler at (202) 418-0744.

TTY: (202) 418-0255.