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FCC Waiver Request Process

Question: We have a Part 15 device that we feel would qualify for a waiver. What is the process?

Answer: An applicant may apply for a waiver if an RF device operating in accordance with Part 15 unlicensed rules cannot comply with all the rules. It is incumbent upon you to demonstrate in your request a compelling reason for the FCC to waive the specific rule requirement.

If the FCC staff determines further consideration is warranted, it will typically release a public notice establishing a time period for public comment. The waiver request will be granted or denied based upon a review of the entire record.

The waiver standard includes the consideration of several elements. The first is the potential for an increase in harmful interference, or the potential to undermine the purpose of the rules. The second element is the level of public benefit likely to be realized by granting the waiver.

You can get a feel for the FCC waiver review process by reading Order DA 21-407, referenced in the previous response.

If a waiver is granted, the applicant is expected to provide a copy of the granted waiver with the equipment authorization application.

If a waiver is issued with special conditions intended to ensure that the underlying purpose of the waived rule continues to be satisfied, the grant will include these special conditions.

Information about waiver filings and decision documents may be found on the FCC’s website.

  • Headline links related to all Office activities: www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology

  • Commission and OET-level decisions may be found in the EDOCS system: www.fcc.gov/edocs Decisions are referenced by FCC/DA #; most proceedings may be found by Docket No.; text/title search is also available

  • Petitions and related comments may be found in the ECFS system: www.fcc.gov/ecfs

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