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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).

November 9, 2000
Michael Balmoris 202-418-0253


Action Signifies Commission's Efforts to Eliminate Unnecessary Regulations as
Competition Increases in Telecom Markets

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated regulations governing the development of technical standards and certification procedures for telecommunications equipment, such as telephones, fax machines, or modems. Specifically, the Commission privatized the process for establishing technical criteria for these products, referred to as customer premise equipment (CPE), and eliminated the requirement that manufacturers of CPE seek Commission approval of the equipment. This action eliminates 125 pages of federal rules, leaving it to the telecommunications industry to self-regulate.

The Report and Order adopted today, which is part of the Commission's second comprehensive biennial review of regulations to eliminate rules that are no longer necessary, reduces significantly the FCC's involvement in adopting technical criteria and approving CPE. The Commission established these rules twenty-five years ago, in part, to facilitate a vibrant, competitive market for CPE, and to ensure that such equipment does not harm the telephone network. The very success of the Commission's rules has fostered their elimination as the competition for CPE has matured to the point that detailed federal rules are no longer necessary.

Currently, to establish technical criteria for new technologies, the FCC must conduct a full rulemaking proceeding. The FCC also approves approximately 3,000 CPE applications per year, and typically it takes the Commission two to four weeks to review and approve a CPE application to ensure that the product meets the technical requirements that prevent harm to the telephone network.

Today's action, which privatizes both establishment of technical criteria and requirements for approval of CPE equipment, is expected to save manufacturers millions of dollars a year. The privatization of this process is expected to bring innovative equipment to the marketplace faster, thereby increasing the choices available to consumers, without harming the telephone network and with a minimal federal role.

Once the Order adopted today becomes effective, equipment manufacturers and suppliers will be able to demonstrate conformity to the appropriate technical criteria either by seeking certification from a Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB), or by providing their own formal declaration of conformity to consumers and the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachment.

The Commission will continue to enforce the requirement that CPE not cause harms to the network. In addition, our rules will continue to require that providers of telecommunications permit connection to the telephone network of any CPE that meets the technical criteria developed by industry. Finally, aggrieved parties may request that the Commission conduct a de novo review of the technical criteria.

Action by the Commission November 9, 2000, by Report and Order (FCC 00-400). Chairman Kennard, and Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani.

CC Docket No. 99-216


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