fcc may mandate Category 3 in residential applications

Oct. 1, 1997
The Federal Communications Commission (fcc--Washington, DC) has filed an interim standard that specifies Category 3 cable as the minimum requirement for simple wiring in residential applications. The standard was filed in early August, approximately a year and a half after bicsi (Tampa, FL) filed a petition requesting a Category 3 specification. According to the fcc, the standard had been filed but not yet approved.

--Patrick McLaughlin

The Federal Communications Commission (fcc--Washington, DC) has filed an interim standard that specifies Category 3 cable as the minimum requirement for simple wiring in residential applications. The standard was filed in early August, approximately a year and a half after bicsi (Tampa, FL) filed a petition requesting a Category 3 specification. According to the fcc, the standard had been filed but not yet approved.

bicsi`s petition was drafted by Ron Provost, who chairs an ad-hoc advisory group on Part 68 of the fcc`s rules--which covers connections of terminal equipment in premises wiring--and who serves as bicsi`s governmental relations representative. He says the petition was prompted by bicsi members who informed the organization of problems they experienced, primarily with residential buildings. "Builders were using a lot of low-bid and substandard wiring in residential buildings," he says. "We believed this was something bicsi should look at, so I drafted a petition with our legal staff and filed it."

Provost explains that although residential premises are deregulated, the fcc maintains oversight jurisdiction, so the petition was filed at the federal level. He also says the standard, if approved, will apply to all simple wiring, which includes 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-line interconnections.

"It`s an interim standard, and that`s one thing we`re commenting on," he says. "The fcc said they`ll institute it for two years, because within that time, they`re going to take a wholesale look at Part 68." Provost says bicsi has filed comments urging the commission to adopt the standard permanently. His primary concern is that if the fcc does not complete its review of Part 68 within two years, the recently filed standard will expire.

He also believes the label "interim" may undermine the standard`s effectiveness. "Most people probably won`t pay attention to it, because they`ll realize that in two years it will go away anyway," he says.

If approved, adds Provost, the standard should benefit businesses and consumers. "The cabling manufacturers will sell more quality cable because builders won`t be able to put in products that aren`t suitable for today`s technologies. For the consumer, the benefit is that the places they buy or rent will give them access to these new technologies."

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