You might not realize that all connected devices go through a pretty strict testing process to ensure there isn’t any harmful interference with other devices that also use spectrum to communicate. Because of outdated rules manufactures product launches have been seriously delayed. Rather than being able to have test products, close to approval, in stores, they have to wait for full approval. This can cause huge unnecessary delays in determining customer interest and marketing plans.
Digital Liberty joined the R Street Institute and Americans for Prosperity in joint comments to the FCC to support proposed rules that would streamline the process of authorizing products before they land in customers’ homes.
Digital Liberty’s Executive Director, Katie McAuliffe, said:
It seems a niche issue, but it really affects a lot of people and will help shorten the long road from product inception to getting it into the hands of waiting customers. The new rules proposed by the FCC will allow retailers of connected products to move faster by removing some read tape without compromising safety or interference concerns that often come along with connected devices. Digital Liberty hopes the FCC will revise its rules to prioritize marketing and importing devices to consumers.
The rules as proposed would allow manufacturers to distribute products, not yet fully approved by the FCC, to stores for display and testing, and still disallow sales to the public until full FCC approval.
This may not sound like a big deal, but this change would benefit consumers, manufacturers, and the supply chain. By allowing products into stores earlier, manufactures can accurately gage consumer interest and demand. The supply chain can then adjust for appropriate shipping schedules instead of rushed, last minute shipping. Both of these would amount to lower cost to consumers.
The proposed rules also wouldn’t jeopardize the integrity of the radio spectrum. Manufacturers and retailers have high incentives to prevent uncontrolled distribution of the products. Any uncontrolled distribution would mean a loss in revenue from theft or fines. And if uncontrolled distribution of products does occur, unauthorized products are unlikely to cause interference since interference is dependent on geography, time, and the frequency that it is occurring on.
The FCC is expected to vote on this proposal this at their June Open Meeting.
Photo credit: Héctor Martínez