On March 10, Atrium Hospitality LP entered into a consent decree with the Federal Communications Commission. The agreement included a burdensome compliance plan and a $35,000 penalty for the hotel and asset management company. Atrium is just the most recent organization whose primary area of work extends beyond telecommunications to be investigated and ultimately penalized by the FCC.

In many industries, cell phones still have not replaced hand-held radios, which are often used for internal communications by security services, cleaning staff, and maintenance teams. These radios are used at manufacturing and industrial facilities, hotels, golf courses, athletic stadiums, and many other facilities that rely on private radios for staff communication.

Continue Reading Use of Private Radios by Industry Increases Risk of FCC Non-Compliance

As the world moves toward the rollout of fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology, the numbers of devices operating in many locations have grown exponentially. The Federal Communications Commission manages the commercial use of the radiofrequency spectrum – those invisible airways on which consumer and commercial wireless devices and networks operate. More wireless devices demand more use of the radio spectrum, leading the FCC to consider how to manage the spectrum more efficiently.

To that end, for the first time in two decades the agency may consider whether and how it may regulate receivers, which is the part of a wireless system that takes in transmissions of communications (e.g., voice, data). Poorly performing receivers make for inefficient spectrum use, limiting the FCC’s ability to cram more users into existing spectrum bands (a finite resource).

Late last year, the design of receivers made national news as the airline industry publicized concerns with possible interference to aircraft altimeters. An FCC decision to auction spectrum on an adjacent band to cellular carriers created concern that some altimeters could suffer performance degradation because these devices “listened” in to the adjacent band. The issue prompted the involvement of various parts of the Biden administration to step in and work out a short-term solution (for now) to modify the rollout of 5G services near airports.

Continue Reading Managing Wireless Technologies from Both Ends: FCC Considers Receiver Regulation

The proliferation of wireless and other electronic devices brings not only great opportunities but also compliance risk. This is demonstrated by a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consent decree with Rexing, Inc., a retailer of aftermarket vehicle dash cameras.

Most devices that radiate radiofrequency, or RF, energy, either intentionally or unintentionally, must be tested for compliance prior to marketing in the United States. Some also must receive grants of equipment authorization from the FCC. Many are subject to labeling requirements. These requirements apply not just to manufacturers, but also to parties that import and market electronic and wireless devices in the U.S.

Examples of products that are subject to these FCC requirements, and which can unintentionally create regulatory problems for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, include lightbulbs, ultrasonic humidifiers, and anything with a chip in it, such as computers, video games, and similar consumer products.

Continue Reading FCC Fine Is a Warning to Retailers of Electronic Devices