Maritime VHF-DSC Waiver and Clarification PN
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Washington, D.C. 20554TTY 202 / 418-2555
Released: December 12, 2011
WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU CLARIFIES AND TEMPORARILY
WAIVES REQUIREMENTS FOR MARITIME DIGITAL SELECTIVE CALLING EQUIPMENTIn this Public Notice, we clarify and temporarily waive certain requirements for maritime fixed
mounted (non-portable) digital selective calling (DSC) equipment.
Section 80.225(a)(4) of the Commission’s Rules prohibits, as of March 25, 2011, the
manufacture, importation, sale or installation of non-portable DSC equipment that does not comply with
the standards referenced in Section 80.225(a)(2) of the Commission’s Rules.1 Section 80.225(a)(2)
previously referenced International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R) Recommendation M.493-11 and,
in the case of Class D VHF DSC equipment, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
International Standard 62238.2 In June 2010, the Commission released the Fourth Report and Order and
Second Memorandum and Opinion (Fourth R&O) in WT Docket No. 00-48, which, inter alia, revised
Section 80.225(a)(2) to replace ITU-R Recommendation M.493-11 with ITU-R Recommendation M.493-
13.3 It was anticipated that the Fourth R&O would be published in the Federal Register in mid- or late
2010, so the revised rule would take effect well before March 25, 2011 and manufacturers and retailers
would have ample notice of the deadline for the manufacture, importation, sale or installation of non-
portable DSC equipment that does not comply with ITU-R Recommendation M.493-13.4
The Federal Register publication of the Fourth R&O was unexpectedly delayed until November
2011, and the rules adopted in the Fourth R&O will not take effect until January 3, 2012.5 In light of this
delay, we conclude that a temporary partial waiver of Section 80.225(a)(4) is warranted, in order to allow
affected entities additional time to prepare for the prohibition on the manufacture, importation, sale or
installation of non-portable DSC equipment that does not comply with ITU-R Recommendation M.493-
13.6 As noted by the United States Coast Guard, this rule change, if it takes effect in January 2012, could
1 See 47 C.F.R. § 80.225(a)(4).
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 80.225(a)(2) (2010).
3 See Amendment of Parts 13 and 80 of the Commission's Rules Concerning Maritime Communications, Fourth
Report and Order and Second Memorandum and Opinion, WT Docket No. 00-48, 25 FCC Rcd 7781, 7806
4 Non-portable DSC equipment that does not conform to ITU-R Recommendation M.493-13 installed before the
deadline may be used indefinitely. See 47 C.F.R. § 80.225(a)(6).
5 See 76 Fed. Reg. 67604 (Nov. 2, 2011).
6 Section 1.925 of the Commission’s Rules provides that a rule may be waived upon a showing that “(i) [t]he
underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by application to the instant case, and
that a grant of the waiver would be in the public interest; or (ii) [i]n view of unique or unusual factual
have unintended and onerous consequences for manufacturers, importers and vendors of non-portable
DSC equipment.7 Providing temporary relief from this requirement will avoid problems of stranded
inventory while not unduly delaying the transition to more advanced DSC equipment. Consequently, we
hereby waive the prohibition until
January 1, 2013,8 after which manufacturers, importers, vendors and
installers must cease making, importing, marketing and installing non-portable DSC equipment that does
not conform to ITU-R Recommendation M.493-13.9
In addition, we understand that some confusion may exist regarding whether fixed mounted DSC
equipment must have test call functionality. We take this opportunity to clarify that all such equipment
must be capable of making a test call. ITU-R Recommendation M.493-11 and ITU-R Recommendation
M.493-13 both clearly mandate test call functionality.10 That IEC 62238 cross-references ITU-R
Recommendation M.493-10 (which did not require DSC test call functionality)11 does not negate this
requirement, for all fixed mounted DSC equipment has been required to have test call functionality since
March 25, 2011 under ITU-R Recommendation M.493-11 and will continue to be so required under ITU-
R Recommendation M.493-13 when the rules adopted in the Fourth R&O take effect.12
For further information, contact Ghassan Khalek or Jeff Tobias of the Mobility Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-0680, TTY (202) 418-7233, or via email to
Ghassan.Khalek@fcc.gov or Jeff.Tobias@fcc.gov.
Action by the Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
circumstances of the instant case, application of the rule(s) would be inequitable, unduly burdensome or contrary
to the public interest, or the applicant has no reasonable alternative.” 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i)-(ii); see also 47
C.F.R. § 1.3 (providing that any rule provision “may be waived by the Commission on its own motion or on
petition if good cause thereof is shown”).
7 See Letter, dated Oct. 13, 2011, from Joseph Hersey, Jr., Chief, Spectrum Management and Telecommunications
Policy Division, United States Coast Guard, to Scot Stone, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless
8 This action does not change or waive the prohibition on the certification of non-portable DSC equipment that
does not conform to ITU-R Recommendation M.493-13. See 47 C.F.R. § 80.225(a)(2).
9 We emphasize that manufacturers, importers, vendors and installers remain obligated to deal in equipment that is
compliant with the ITU-R Recommendation M.493-11 standard, as they have been since March 25, 2011.
10 See ITU-R Recommendation M.493-11, Table 4.7; ITU-R Recommendation M.493-13, Table 4.7. Table 4.7
also mandates test call acknowledgment capability.
11 See IEC 62238 § 1 (Scope).
12 The reference in Section 80.225(a)(4) to “either of the standards” may have engendered some confusion as to
whether fixed mounted DSC equipment must comply with both the ITU and IEC standards referenced in Section
80.225(a)(2). It was clearly the Commission’s intent to require compliance with all of the referenced standards. In
adopting the rule, the Commission stated, “[W]e conclude that DSC equipment should be required to meet the
ITU-R M.493-11 and ITU-R M.541-9 standards and, in the case of Class D equipment, the IEC 62238 standard as
well, and we amend Section 80.225(a) accordingly.” See Amendment of Parts 13 and 80 of the Commission's
Rules Concerning Maritime Communications, Memorandum Opinion and Order, Third Report and Order, and
Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, WT Docket No. 00-48, 21 FCC Rcd 10282, 10298 ¶ 27 (2006)
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