Last month we reported on the FCC’s proposal to update its technical standards for evaluating the compatibility of wireless devices and hearing aids. As noted there, updating to the new standard is important. It will improve testing procedures, and also expand the standard to cover frequencies (including the new 700 MHz band, which some wireless carriers have recently begun using to provide 4G data service) beyond basic cellphone bands. Without the update, new technology products soon expected on the market might be exempt from compatibility requirements. (The FCC allowed the iPhone to be exempt when it first appeared.) Issues in the rulemaking include a cut-off date after which the current standard may no longer be used, and whether manufacturers must apply one standard or the other, rather than cherry-picking parts of each.

The Commission’s Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has now been published in the Federal Register, which in turn sets the comment and reply comment deadlines. Comments are due by January 13, 2012, and reply comments by January 30, 2012.