Terminal Equipment (Part 68)

Terminal Equipment (Part 68)

Part 68 of the FCC rules (47 C.F.R. Part 68) cover the connection of terminal equipment (TE) to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and to wireline carrier-owned facilities used to provide private line services. In 2001, the FCC minimized the government’s role in Part 68 by privatizing significant portions of its rules governing the connection of customer premises equipment (landline telephone equipment) to the PSTN and certain private-line services, and privatized the standards development and terminal equipment approval processes. However, the FCC has retained the responsibility to enforce Part 68 rules.

The privatized technical and administrative functions mandated by Part 68 are now administered by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (ACTA). The ACTA was formed in 2001 through the co-sponsorship and support of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and TIA with the mission to (1) adopt technical criteria for terminal equipment to prevent network harms through the act of publishing such criteria developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited Standards Development Organizations; and (2) establish and maintain database(s) of equipment approved as compliant with the technical criteria. For more information on the ACTA, we urge you to visit its website.

While responsibility for most of the technical requirements in Part 68 was turned over to industry in 2000,  the HAC volume control gain requirements for TE were retained in Part 68. TIA’s TR-41 Engineering Committee (Performance and Accessibility for Communications Products) develops voluntary standards for telecommunications TE and systems, specifically those used for voice services, integrated voice and data services, and Internet protocol applications. Together with its three subcommittees and their working groups, the committee develops performance and interface criteria for equipment, systems and private networks, as well as the information necessary to ensure their proper interworking with each other, with public networks, with IP telephony infrastructures and with carrier-provided private-line services. TR-41's hearing aid compatibility standards are incorporated by reference into the FCC's regulations in 47 C.F.R. 68.317. In addition, TR-41 develops criteria for preventing harm to the telephone network, which becomes mandatory when adopted by the ACTA.

TIA Part 68-Related Filings