The European Commission considers that only between 28% and 56% of relevant companies comply with the current requirements of the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (1999/5/EC)(“RTTE Directive”). On 17 October 2012 the European Commission adopted a proposal for the amendment of the RTTE Directive and the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (“BIS”) is now seeking views from stakeholders.
We previously commented upon the proposals from the European Commission in our article “European Commission proposes update to the radio equipment directive”. The European Commission’s proposal is intended to improve the level of compliance with, whilst clarifying and simplifying the requirements under, the RTTE Directive. It is envisaged that these changes will reduce the current and unnecessary burdens on providers/public authorities under the RTTE Directive whilst retaining high levels of public safety and protection of radio spectrum.
BIS is seeking views on the following matters under the proposed amendments to the RTTE Directive:
- the proposed definition of radio equipment to include only equipment that intentionally transmits (with the removal from the definition of equipment that only receives);
- the simplification and reduction of administrative burdens relating to certain products, including the removal of the obligation to affix equipment class identifiers on certain products;
- the requirement to register products that have attained a low level of compliance within a central database and whether such a requirement is reasonable, proportionate and achievable;
- the possibility of requiring radio equipment to interoperate with accessories and the effect on the markets for the products that would fall within the scope of this requirement; and
- the inclusion of a framework for the use of innovative technologies and the requirement that the software and hardware be combined in such technologies. The levels of non-compliance with the RTTE Directive should be a major concern for BIS, and the communications industry as a whole, with liability for non-compliance not only resting with the manufacture of the relevant equipment but also the entity that places the devices into service. The consequences of non-compliance are also quite onerous with the potential for both criminal and civil sanctions to be applied.
It remains to be seen whether this proposals will result in an increase in the levels of compliance across the industry. Whilst the BIS consultation does not go as far as to refer to these concerns the areas in which it is focusing its attention should hopefully lead, if implemented correctly, to increased compliance with the amended RTTE Directive.
Interested parties have been asked to submit responses to the consultation by 19 August 2013.