The blog reports:Perhaps to the surprise of those companies, the FCC does have authority over the signs, because they incorporate digital devices and produce radio waves as an unwanted byproduct. The FCC regulates those emissions to minimize the risk of interference. Someone in the distribution chain – usually the manufacturer – is supposed to have the device tested for compliance with the FCC’s limits and,  if the device passes, to apply certain labels and provide certain information in the manual.

By our count, six sign companies recently settled with the FCC for failure to follow those rules. They paid substantial fines: Liantronics, LLC ($61,000), Optec Displays, Inc.($54,000), Boyce Industries, Inc. d/b/a VISIONTECH ($39,500), Media Resources, Inc.($19,500), Anthem Displays, LLC ($18,000), and Tradenet Enterprise Inc. d/b/a Vantage LED ($15,000).

Nowadays pretty much anything with a battery or a wall plug contains digital circuitry, which means all of those devices come under FCC regulation (apart from a very small number of exceptions). In addition to paying fines, companies that ignore the rules risk expensive interruptions to production and sales, and possibly an accumulation of un-sellable inventory.

In short, manufacturers and importers can save a lot of money and trouble by complying up front. If you don’t know how, we can help.

The posts linked up in the opening paragraph go into the background and what you, as a buyer or perhaps as a vendor, should be doing.

In a nutshell – the FCC requires that electronic equipment, such as digital signs, be tested to ensure they are not radiating interference that exceeds specified levels. The paper notes how a fast food franchise operator in Texas received a cease and desist order from the FCC for operating an unlicensed radio station that was found to be interfering with important communications in the area, include radio transmissions from a nearby airport.

FOLLOW-UP

Optec says while the company was indeed cited by the FCC, this was related to test record keeping and product labeling requirements. Optec resolved the issue, paid the fine, is now in compliance with FCC regulations, and the investigation is terminated. The settlement clearly states that all Optec products are in compliance with ALL regulations – technical, test record keeping, and labeling. Specifically, the FCC Consent Decree states “…the Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to Optec, directing it to submit a sworn written response to a series of questions relating to its marketing of LED signs in the United States…Immediately after receiving the LOI, Optec began the process of bringing its LED signs into compliance with the Commission’s rules. Optec subsequently resolved all matters relating to its noncompliance with the relevant Equipment Authorization and Marketing Rules concerning the LED signs at issue.”

To reiterate, Optec’s products have always been in compliance with the FCC’s Title 47, CFR Part 15. As a 30-year-old U.S.-based company, Optec is committed to producing the highest-quality LED display boards and complying with all government guidelines. Going forward all Optec LED display products will carry a 10-year FCC compliance guarantee.