Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, tech companies including Google, Amazon and Samsung, are asking the FCC to approve rule changes that would allow "conditional" sales and feature marketing--but not delivery--of technology to consumers before it has gotten FCC equipment authorization. It would also permit limited importation of technology, including 5G technology, in preparation for sale.
The FCC has already voted unanimously to propose those changes and the Consumer Technology Association, which petitioned for the presales, said it should move quickly to vote out final rules--so the pre-selling can begin.
"The proposed changes will better allow manufacturers to gauge market demand, source supplies, and allocate inventory efficiently," the tech companies, led by the Consumer Technology Association, of which they are all members, said in meetings with advisors to the FCC's two Republican commissioners.
They said the changes will allow them to get the products to retailers, loaded with the appropriate software and ready to sell when the FCC approves them.
They cited the pandemic as providing a couple of reasons for speeding the rule change. One is that consumer access to innovative products, whether for school, telehealth, remote work, news, entertainment or basic interaction is more important than ever given the isolation of COVID-19. Then there is the argument that new tech will be a catalyst to post-COVID economic recovery. It also points out that pre-ordering online has become commonplace, so consumers would be comfortable with the process.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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