Who’s In, Who’s Out? FCC Sets New Bar for Equipment Testing

On May 23, 2024, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously passed a significant measure in a bid to safeguard the nation’s wireless systems. In a decisive 5-0 vote, the FCC introduced a proposal aimed at preventing national security threats from infiltrating the U.S. wireless equipment market.

Who Gets Cut Off?

Under the proposed rule, testing laboratories with at least 10% ownership by entities on the FCC’s “covered list” would be barred from participating in the FCC’s equipment testing for market approval. This measure extends the existing prohibitions that prevent obtaining FCC approvals to sell new wireless products and from participating as vendors in federally subsidized networks.

The NPRM specifically targets Telecommunications Certification Bodies and Measurement Facilities

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the Commission’s equipment authorization program on May 1, accompanied by a press release from Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioner Carr. It will direct the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) to suspend the recognition of any TCB or test lab for which there is “sufficient evidence” that they are directly owned or controlled by an entity on the FCC’s “Covered List” of entities.

Impact on Testing Laboratories

This would apply to testing for both certifications and the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity. TCBs and test labs would need to certify compliance 30 days after the effective date of any final rules. The proposed changes could significantly shift equipment authorization practices and impact TCBs and test labs. Companies may need to seek alternative testing partners to comply with the new regulations.


Commissioner Brendan Carr highlighted the significance of the proposal: “This proposal represents another significant step in the FCC’s work to advance the security of America’s communications networks. It does so by proposing to ensure that the test labs and certification bodies that review electronic devices for compliance with FCC requirements are themselves trustworthy actors that the FCC can rely on.”

Brendan Carr, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.

Testing laboratories must adapt to ensure compliance and maintain their role in the equipment authorization process. Staying informed and proactive will be crucial for all stakeholders as the FCC moves forward with its decision.