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Notice

Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

DATES:

Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before December 27, Start Printed Page 733992016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

ADDRESSES:

Direct all PRA comments to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email PRA@fcc.gov and to Nicole.Ongele@fcc.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For additional information about the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

OMB Control Number: 3060-0057.

Title: Application for Equipment Authorization, FCC Form 731.

Form Number: FCC Form 731.

Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities, and state, local, or tribal government.

Number of Respondents and Responses: 3,740 respondents; 22,250 responses.

Estimated Time per Response: 35 hours.

Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement and third party disclosure requirement.

Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for these collections are contained in Sections 4(i), 301, 302, 303(e), 303(f), and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 154(i), 301, 302, 303(e), 303(f), and 303(r).

Total Annual Burden: 778,750 hours.

Total Annual Cost: No cost.

Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

Needs and Uses: Commission rules require that manufacturers of certain radio frequency (RF) equipment file FCC Form 731 to obtain approval prior to marketing their equipment. Manufacturers may then market their RF equipment based on a showing of compliance with technical standards established in the FCC Rules for each type of equipment or device operated under the applicable FCC Rule part. The following types of equipment are regulated (a) the RF equipment is regulated under certain rule sections of 47 CFR part 15 and Part 18, and (b) in addition, rules governing certain RF equipment operating in the licensed services also require equipment authorization as established in the procedural rules in 47 CFR part 2. The RF equipment manufacturers comply with the information collection requirements by (a) Filing FCC Form 731 electronically with the Commission, or (b) Submitting the information to a Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB), which acts on behalf of the FCC to issue grants of certification and may issue grants more expeditiously than the FCC. The TCBs have flexibility in the format in which they require the collection of information (i) TCBs may require applicants to submit the required information in FCC Form 731 format or in another format selected by the TCB, but (ii) whatever the information collection method, the information required is governed by the procedural rules in 47 CFR part 2 and a showing of compliance with the FCC technical standards for the specific type of equipment. RF manufacturer applicants for equipment certification may also request “expedited authorization” to market their equipment by: (a) Choosing to pay the fee levied by a TCB, and (b) submitting their request to a TCB in order for expedited authorization to market. The TCB processes the RF equipment manufacturer's application as follows: (i) The TCB receives and reviews the RF manufacturer's information submission/application; and (ii) the TCB enters the information into the FCC Equipment Authorization System database using an interface that provides the TCB with the tools to issue a standardized Grant of Equipment Authorization. Whichever method the RF manufacturers choose to submit their information—via either the FCC on FCC Form 731 or the TCB, FCC Rules require that applicants supply the following data: (a) Demographic information including Grantee name and address, contact information, etc.; (b) information specific to the equipment including FCC Identifier, equipment class, technical specifications, etc.; and (c) attachments that demonstrate compliance with FCC Rules that may include any combination of the following based on the applicable Rule parts for the equipment for which authorization is requested: (1) Identification of equipment (47 CFR 2.925); (2) attestation statements that may be required for specific equipments; (3) external photos of the equipment for which authorization is requested; (4) block diagram of the device; (5) schematics; (6) test report; (7) test setup photos; (8) Users Manual; (9) Internal Photos; (10) Parts List/Tune Up Information; (11) RF Exposure Information; (12) Operational Description; (13) Cover Letters; and, (14) Software Defined Radio/Cognitive Radio Files.

In general, an applicant's submission is as follows: (a) FCC Form 731 includes approximately two pages covering the demographic and equipment identification information; and (b) applicants must supply additional documentation and other information, as described above, demonstrating conformance with FCC Rules, which may range from 100-1,000 pages. The supplemental information is essential to control potential interference to radio communications, which the FCC may use, as is necessary, to investigate complaints of harmful interference. In response to new technologies and in allocating spectrum, the Commission may establish new technical operating standards: (a) RF equipment manufacturers must meet the new standards to receive an equipment authorization, and (b) RF equipment manufacturers must still comply with the Commission's requirements in FCC Form 731 and demonstrate compliance as required by 47 CFR part 2 of FCC Rules. Thus, this information collection applies to a variety of RF equipment: (a) That is currently manufactured, (b) that may be manufactured in the future, and (c) that operates under varying technical standards. On July 8, 2004, the Commission adopted a Report and Order, Modification of Parts 2 and 15 of the Commission's Rules for Unlicensed Devices and Equipment Approval, ET Docket No. 03-201, FCC 04-165. The change requires that all paper filings required in 47 CFR Sections 2.913, 2.926(c), 2.929(c), and 2.929(d) of the rules are outdated and now must be filed electronically via the Internet on FCC Form 731. The Commission believes that electronic filing speeds up application processing and supports the Commission in further streamlining to reduce cost and increase efficiency. Information on the procedures for electronically filing equipment authorization applications can be obtained from the Commission's rules, and from the Internet at: http://transition.fcc.gov/​oet/​ea/​ea-app-info.htm.

On October 26, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order, FCC 14-172, PS Docket 13-87, that modified Sections 2.1033 and 90.548 of the rules and effectively required equipment manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with the Interoperability Technical Standards contained in Section 90.548 of the Commission's rules as a condition for FCC certification of equipment designed to operate on the 700 MHz narrowband interoperability channels. One method of demonstrating Start Printed Page 73400this requirement is documenting compliance with the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP). CAP is a program that establishes an independent compliance assessment process to ensure that communications equipment conforms to Project 25 standards and is interoperable across vendors. Alternatively, a manufacturer may submit a document describing how it determined compliance with Section 90.548 and that its equipment is interoperable across vendors.

On August, 22, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission released an Order on Reconsideration, FCC 16-111, PS Docket No. 13-87 (see attached) that modified Part 2 and Part 90 of the Rules for equipment approval and Private Land Mobile Radio Services. See 81 FR 66830 (Sept. 29, 2016). The amended rule requires all Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturers who manufacture 700 MHz narrowband equipment capable of operating on the interoperability channels to demonstrate compliance with the Commission's Interoperability Technical Standards in 90.548. The Order on Reconsideration prescribes two methods for showing compliance with Section 90.548 after equipment authorization application approval and before the marketing and sale of equipment capable of operating on the 700 MHz narrowband interoperability channels. Specifically, the Commission modified Section 2.1033(c)(20) to provide that:

Before equipment operating under part 90 of this chapter and capable of operating on the 700 MHz interoperability channels (See § 90.531(b)(1) of this chapter) may be marketed or sold, the manufacturer thereof shall have a Compliance Assessment Program Supplier's Declaration of Conformity and Summary Test Report or, alternatively, a document detailing how the manufacturer determined that its equipment complies with § 90.548 of this chapter and that the equipment is interoperable across vendors. Submission of a 700 MHz narrowband radio for certification will constitute a representation by the manufacturer that the radio will be shown, by testing, to be interoperable across vendors before it is marketed or sold.

The Commission also modified Section 90.548(c) of the Commission's rules to provide:

Transceivers capable of operating on the interoperability channels listed in § 90.531(b)(1) shall not be marketed or sold unless the transceiver has previously been certified for interoperability by the Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; provided, however, that this requirement is suspended if the CAP is discontinued. Submission of a 700 MHz narrowband radio for certification will constitute a representation by the manufacturer that the radio will be shown, by testing, to be interoperable across vendors before it is marketed or sold. In the alternative, manufacturers may employ their own protocol for verifying compliance with Project 25 standards and determining that their product is interoperable among vendors. In the event that field experience reveals that a transceiver is not interoperable, the Commission may require the manufacturer thereof to provide evidence of compliance with this § 90.548.

To effectively implement the provisions of the new Rules, no modifications to the existing FCC Form 731 Application for Equipment Authorization are required. The changes are intended to simplify the filing process, ensure equipment complies with Project 25 standards and is interoperable across vendors. The following specific methods are proposed to ensure compliance with Section 90.548 and simplify filing processes for equipment manufacturers:

(1) The Order on Reconsideration establishes that before the marketing or sale of equipment designed to operate on the 700 MHz narrowband interoperability channels, manufacturers shall have a Compliance Assessment Program Supplier's Declaration of Conformity and Summary Test Report or, alternatively, a document detailing how the manufacturer determined that its equipment complies with § 90.548 and that the equipment is interoperable across vendors. OMB has approved the information collections associated with P25 CAP compliance under OMB Control No. 1640-0015.[1]

(2) In the event that field experience reveals that a transceiver is not interoperable, the Commission may require the manufacturer thereof to provide evidence of compliance with § 90.548.

The modified rules provide a benefit to public safety licensees by ensuring that only equipment that has been tested for interoperability in a vendor-neutral environment before equipment can be marketed or sold to public safety. This will provide the additional benefit of engendering competition in the public safety equipment marketplace by eliminating system compatibility as a gating factor when evaluating equipment purchases. The Order on Reconsideration reduces the burden on equipment manufacturers by allowing them to meet this standard by demonstrating compliance with the P25 CAP or manufacturers' interoperability testing protocol. Compliance with the P25 CAP program is already a requisite for grant eligibility and agency purchasing standards, consequently any new burden imposed by this requirement would be minimal.

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Federal Communications Commission.

Marlene H. Dortch,

Secretary, Office of the Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  Congressional direction for a P25 compliance assessment program can be found in the COPS Law Enforcement Technologies and Interoperable Communications Program section of the Conference Report to Public Law 109-148, as well as the Science & Technology Management and Administration section of Division E of the Conference Report to Public Law 110-161.

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[FR Doc. 2016-25714 Filed 10-24-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6712-01-P