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Client Alerts

EMC Alert: 40 dB Per Decade Extrapolation Factor in Jeopardy

March 31, 2010

Client Alerts

EMC Alert: 40 dB Per Decade Extrapolation Factor in Jeopardy

March 31, 2010

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EMC Alert: 40 dB Per Decade Extrapolation Factor in Jeopardy


Who Will Be Impacted: All manufacturers (US and foreign) of unlicensed intentional radiators operating below 30 MHz who rely on the 40 dB per decade distance extrapolation factor for FCC compliance.


The Issue: In April of 2008, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC’s recently adopted Broadband over Power Line (BPL) rules. Among other things, the court ruled that the FCC did not adequately justify applying the standard 40 dB per decade test procedure (Rule 15.31(f)(2)) to BPL. The American Radio Relay League (the amateur radio association) has been pushing the FCC to adopt a 20 dB per decade standard for RF devices below 30 MHz for several years.

In response to the court remand, the FCC began a rulemaking and seeks comments on a proposal to change the current 40 dB per decade extrapolation factor to “30 dB per decade or some other fixed value.” Even though the FCC believes that its decision to apply the 40 dB standard to BPL was reasonable and appropriate, it nonetheless suggests lowering it.

Although it may appear at first blush that this is only a BPL proceeding, a change in the 40 dB distance extrapolation factor could significantly affect all RF devices that rely on this factor for determining FCC compliance.


What Needs to Be Done: For the FCC to retain the 40 dB test procedure, it will need to develop a record to support its decision. Every manufacturer who might be impacted by a change in this test procedure should consider filing comments in the rulemaking. The FCC will need to hear from the industry on how a change will translate into increased product costs and lower product performance for devices that have a history of interference free operations.


Comments are due September 23, 2009. Replies are due October 8, 2009. Let us know if Fish & Richardson P.C. can be of assistance to any companies who need to be heard.

The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making can be found here.

Terry G. Mahn       Donna A. Balaguer
mahn@fr.com        balaguer@fr.com
202-626-6421        202-626-7719


© Copyright 2009 Fish & Richardson P.C. These materials may be considered advertising for legal services under the laws and rules of professional conduct of the jurisdictions in which we practice. The material contained in this newsletter has been gathered by the lawyers at Fish & Richardson P.C. for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Transmission is not intended to create and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel. For more information about Fish & Richardson P.C. and our practices, please visit www.fr.com.

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