One downside of a government shutdown—or the present partial shutdown that includes the FCC—is the inability of technology companies to obtain the FCC certifications they need to market certain kinds of new products.
Good news: the FCC has reopened a website that makes it possible for most (not all) new devices to obtain their certifications.
In ordinary times, the process works like this. The manufacturer sends a sample of the device to a lab for compliance testing. The lab forwards the test report and other papers to a Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB), which reviews them and if satisfactory, issues a certification on behalf of the FCC. A necessary step is the TCB’s loading information about the device onto an FCC website called the Equipment Authorization System (EAS). The certification cannot take effect until that happens. However, the EAS website has been read-only since the shutdown started a month ago, so the TCBs could not issue new certifications.
The FCC has now announced that EAS is once again accepting new entries. The certifications can begin to flow. New devices can once again find their way to market.
A few certifications will still have to wait. Some novel or complex devices—typically subject to waivers or new rules—require the TCB to consult with the FCC technical staff prior to certification. Because the staff is unable to report for work, those devices will have to wait.
(Usually we would include a link to the FCC’s announcement, but not this time. The part of the FCC that manages documents and makes those links available is still closed.)