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An Overview of the Responsible Party’s Responsibility Following Part 68 Privatization. Part 68 Background.

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An Overview of theResponsible Party’s Responsibility Following Part 68 Privatization


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Part 68 Background

  • Prior to the Commission’s Part 68 rules, terminal equipment was manufactured almost exclusively by Western Electric (i.e., Bell System) to ensure that no harmful terminal equipment would be connected to the public network

  • The Part 68 rules and regulations were established to remove the exclusivity and create competition

  • Premised on a comprise, Part 68 rules mandated that:

    • Service providers allow terminal equipment manufactured by anyone to be connected to their network, provided;

    • The terminal equipment demonstrates compliance to the technical criteria established for preventing network harm


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Responsibility of Terminal Equipment Manufactures

  • Terminal equipment approved and/or registered by the Commission for connection to the network had to demonstrate compliance to: [47 CFR Part 68, Oct. 2000]

    • Preventing 4 network harms: [Part 68, Subpart D]

      • 1) Electrical hazards to telephone company personnel

      • 2) Damage to telephone company equipment

      • 3) Malfunction of telephone company billing equipment

      • 4) Degradation of service to persons other then the users of the subject terminal equipment, their calling or called parties

    • Hearing Aid Compatibility (“HAC”) and Volume Control (“VC”) requirements [§§ 68.4, 68.318(c)]

    • Consumer protection requirements [§§ 68.318(d), 68.318(e)]

    • Product labeling requirements [§68.300]


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Responsibility of Terminal Equipment Manufactures

  • Before compliant terminal equipment could be connected to the public network, it had to be Registered with the Commission [47 CFR Part 68, Oct. 2000]

  • Registration process required: [Part 68, Subpart C]

    • Submitting an Application including:

      • Form 159, and

      • Form 730 with Attachment Exhibits A – J

        • reasons for App., test report, quality control & compliance statement, product labeling example, copy of owner’s manual, etc..

    • Obtaining a FCC Registration number for inclusion in the product’s FCC Registration Number

  • Approved/Registered terminal equipment would be entered into a MS Access database


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Part 68 Biennial Review

  • The Telecommunications Act of 1996 directed the FCC to review its rules every even-numbered year and repeal or modify those found to be no longer in the public interest

  • Because of the rapid pace of change in both network and telephone equipment technologies, the FCC found it increasingly difficult for the regulatory process to keep pace thus creating a public disservice

  • Pursuant to the FCC Report and Order, CC Docket No. 99-216, FCC 00-400, the FCC minimized the government’s role in Part 68 by privatizing significant portions of its rules governing the connection of terminal equipment to the public network and privatized the standards development and terminal equipment approval processes


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Part 68 Privatization

  • To ensure continued uniformity and a level playing field that will assure robust competition, the FCC mandated the establishment of the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (“ACTA”) to assume functions privatized, such as:

    • adopt technical criteria for terminal equipment

    • establish product-labeling requirements

    • establish and maintain a database of equipment approved as compliant with the technical criteria

    • many of the FCC’s past Part 68 functions

  • ACTA was formed through the co-sponsorship and support of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)


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Responsibility of the Responsible Party

Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. Part 68, Oct. 1, 2001

(post-privatization)

Responsible Party’s1 (“RP”) must ensure terminal equipment2 connected to the public network complies and shall continue to comply with the applicable Part 68 rules and regulations and with the applicable ACTA-adopted technical criteria [§§ 68.7, 68.218(a)]

1See slide 47 CFR §68.3: Definitions

2Terminal Equipment: As used in Part 68, communications equipment located on customer premises at the end of a communications link, used to permit the stations involved to accomplish the provision of telecommunications or information services. [§68.3]


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Responsibility of the Responsible Party

  • Part 68 rules and regulations (Oct., 2001) includes:

    • Methods for achieving terminal equipment approval: [§68.201]

      • Certified by a Telecommunications Certification Body (“TCB”), or

      • Declared compliant by the Responsible Party utilizing the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (“SDoC”) process

    • Hearing Aid Compatibility (“HAC”) and Volume Control (“VC”) requirements [§§ 68.4, 68.318(c)]

    • Consumer protection requirements [§§ 68.318(d), 68.318(e)]

    • Requirement to designate an Agent for Service [§68.418]

    • Requirement to submit all information required by the ACTA for inclusion in the Part 68 database [§68.610 (b)]

    • Requirement to label terminal equipment as specified by ACTA [§§ 68.300, 68.354 (a)(b), and §68.612]

      • TIA/EIA/TSB-168, Telecommunications - Telephone Terminal Equipment - Labeling Requirements, June 2001


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Responsibility of the Responsible Party

  • ACTA-adopted technical criteria encompasses:

    • preventing 4 network harms:

      • 1) Electrical hazards to telephone company personnel

      • 2) Damage to telephone company equipment

      • 3) Malfunction of telephone company billing equipment

      • 4) Degradation of service to persons other then the users of the subject terminal equipment, their calling or called parties

  • ACTA-adopted technical criteria (to-date) includes:

    • TIA/EIA/IS-968, Telecommunications -- Telephone Terminal Equipment -- Technical Requirements for Connection of Terminal Equipment to the Telephone Network

    • TIA/EIA/IS-883, Telecommunications -- Telephone Terminal Equipment -- Supplemental Technical Requirements for Connection of Stutter Dial Tone Detection Devices and ADSL Modems to the Telephone Network, June 2001

    • T1.TRQ.6-2001, Technical Requirements Document, SHDSL, HDSL2, HDSL4 Digital Subscriber Line Terminal Equipment to Prevent Harm to the Telephone Network


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Certified by a Telecommunications Certification Body

  • Responsible Party’s may have equipment certified by a TCB:

    • Certification of equipment by a TCB shall be based on an application with all the information specified in Part 68. The TCB shall process the application to determine whether the product meets the Commission's requirements and shall issue a written grant of equipment authorization

    • TCBs shall be accredited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under its National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Evaluation (NVCASE) program or other recognized programs based on ISO/IEC Guide 65, to comply with the Commission's qualification criteria for TCBs. TCBs shall comply with the requirements in §68.162


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Responsible Party SDoC Method

Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity is a procedure where the Responsible Party, as defined in §68.3, makes measurements or takes other necessary steps to ensure that the terminal equipment complies with the appropriate standards [§68.320 (a)]

  • Responsible Party shall include in the SDoC:

    • the identification and a description of the responsible party for the SDoC and the product, including the model number of the product [§68.324 (a)(1)]

    • a statement that the terminal equipment conforms with applicable technical requirements, and a reference to the technical requirements [§68.324 (a)(2)]

    • the date and place of issue of the declaration [§68.324 (a)(3)]

    • the signature, name and function of person making declaration [§68.324 (a)(4)]


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Responsible Party SDoC Method

  • a statement that the handset, if any, complies with §68.316 defining hearing aid compatibility (HAC), or that it does not comply with that section [§68.324 (a)(5)]

  • any other information required to be included in the SDoC by the Administrative Council of Terminal Attachments [§68.324 (a)(6)]

  • A copy of the SDoC shall be:

    • provided with the terminal equipment [§68.324 (c)]

    • provided to the ACTA [§68.324 (e)(2)]

    • freely available to the general public and accessible to the disabled community on the RP’s website3[§68.324 (e)(3)]

  • 3 If the RP does not have a functional and reliable website, the RP shall inform ACTA of such circumstances, and the ACTA shall make a copy available on its website.


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    Responsible Party SDoC Method

    • Notice that the FCC prohibits the use of non-HAC telephones (if applicable), and a list of such locations shall also be provided in the SDoC [§§ 68.224 (a), 68.324 (f)]

    • Responsible Party for a SDoC shall maintain records for a period of at least 10 years containing:

      • a copy of the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity [§68.326 (a)(1)]

      • the identity of the testing facility, including the name address, phone number and other contact information [§68.326 (a)(2)]

      • a detailed explanation of the testing procedure utilized to determine whether terminal equipment conforms to the appropriate technical criteria [§68.326 (a)(3)]

      • a copy of the test results for terminal equipment compliance with the appropriate technical criteria [§68.326 (a)(4)]


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    Responsible Party SDoC Method

    • Responsible Party for a SDoC shall compile and retain a description of the measurement facilities employed for testing the equipment, and the description shall contain information required by ACTA [§68.346]

    • Responsible Party for a SDoC may authorize a second party to manufacture the equipment covered by the SDoC provided that the Responsible Party shall continue to be responsible for the equipment produced [§68.322]

    • In the case of transactions affecting the Responsible Party, such as a transfer of control to another company, mergers, or transfer of manufacturing rights, the successor entityshall become the Responsible Party [§68.322]


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    Responsible Party SDoC Method

    • Pursuant to §68.348:

      • (a)No change may be made in terminal equipment or protective circuitry that would result in any material change in the information contained in the SDoC;

      • (b) Any other changes in terminal equipment or protective circuitry covered by an SDoC shall only be made by the responsible party or an authorized agent, and the responsible party remains responsible for the performance of such changes

    • Records and materials, including the SDoC, retained by Responsible Party must be in English

    • An example of a SDoC is available in the ACTA Guidelines and Procedures document

      • Example SDoC is based on Part 68 rules and ISO/IEC Guide 22


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    Responsible Party Database Requirements

    • Responsible Parties, whether they obtain terminal equipment approval from a TCB or utilize the SDoC process, shall submit to the [ACTA] database administrator all information required by ACTA [§68.610 (b)]

    • ACTA required information is outlined in the document, Guidelines and Procedures for submittal of information for inclusion in the ACTA database of approved Telephone Terminal Equipment ("TTE"), Revision 1.1., October 2001


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    Responsible Party Database Requirements

    • Responsible Party’s must provide:

      • Copy of the ACTA TTE Submission Form (~19 items)

      • Signed copy of a Responsible Party’s SDoC, or TCB’s Certificate

      • Signed copy of an Indemnification & Liability Statement

      • Copy of test plan/method used to verify conformity for SDoC

      • Designation of an Agent for Service that is physically located in the USA, i.e., US Agent for Service

      • Processing Fee

    • ACTA’s adopted technical criteria, guidelines and procedures for submitting TTE information, required consumer instructions, database of approved terminal equipment, and other related information is available on ACTA’s website at http://www.part68.org


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    Responsibility of the Responsible Party

    • Responsible Parties failing to comply with the applicable Part 68 rules and regulations and with the applicable ACTA-adopted technical criteria are subject to penalties (under Federal Law) for failure to comply with the requirements [§1.80]

      • Penalties can be found in 47 U.S.C. Section 503

    • A copy of 47 CFR Part 68, Oct. 1, 2001 is available at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_01/47cfr68_01.html

    • Other relevant documents to note:

      • Report and Order In the Matter of 2000 Biennial Regulatory Review of Part 68 of the Commission’s Rules and Regulations, CC Docket No. 99-216, FCC 00-400, Released December 21, 2000

      • Order on Reconsideration in CC Docket No. 99-216, FCC 02-103, Released April 10, 2002


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    47 CFR §68.3: Definitions

    Responsible Party:The party or parties responsible for the compliance of terminal equipment or protective circuitry intended for connection directly to the public switched telephone network with the applicable rules and regulations in this part and with the technical criteria published by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments. If a Telecommunications Certification Body certifies the terminal equipment, the responsible party is the holder of the certificate for that equipment. If the terminal equipment is the subject of a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, the responsible party shall be: (1) the manufacturer of the terminal equipment, or (2) the manufacturer of protective circuitry that is marketed for use with terminal equipment that is not to be connected directly to the network, or (3) if the equipment is imported, the importer, or (4) if the terminal equipment is assembled from individual component parts, the assembler. If the equipment is modified by any party not working under the authority of the responsible party, the party performing the modifications, if located within the U.S., or the importer, if the equipment is imported subsequent to the modifications, becomes the new responsible party. Retailers or original equipment manufacturers may enter into an agreement with the assembler or importer to assume the responsibilities to ensure compliance of the terminal equipment and to become the responsible party.


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