What is radio equipment? Radio equipment is electrical or electronic product equipment which intentionally emits or receives radio waves for the purpose of radio communication or radiodetermination, or an electrical or electronic product which must be completed with an accessory, such as an antenna, so as to intentionally emit or receive radio wave for the purpose of radio communication or radiodetermination. The RE Regulations apply to all electrical or electronic equipment containing a radio interface that is not readily removable.
As set out under the LV Regulations electrical equipment must comply with the LV Regulations as set out therein. That is to say the electrical equipment must have been constructed in accordance with good engineering practice in safety matters and must not endanger the health and safety of persons and domestic animals, or property, when properly installed and maintained and used in applications for which it was made.
The CCPC is the designated sole market surveillance authority of the purposes of the LV Regulations with regard to electrical equipment.
However, ComReg is obliged to ensure compliance of radio equipment with the safety requirements described in the Low Voltage Regulations (in addition to the essential requirements regarding electromagnetic compatibility and efficient use of radio spectrum).
ComReg is the designated Market Surveillance Authority in respect of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (“RED”).
The RED is transposed into Irish law by way of the European Union (Radio Equipment) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 248/2017) (“RE Regulations”), which establishes a regulatory framework for placing radio equipment on the market.
Radio equipment can be combined or assembled to function with non-radio equipment. Where the “radio equipment is incorporated in a fixed and permanent way in the non-radio product” then the entire product as a whole must comply with the RED Regulations (because the entire product will be considered “radio equipment”) as the European Commission’s Supplementary Guidance makes clear. Whether the equipment and radio equipment is combined or assembled “in a fixed and permanent way“ is thus a question of fact.
An example of such a combined radio equipment is a washing machine with a WiFi interface. As explained, this this type of washing machine must not only comply with the safety requirements of the LV Regulations, but it must also, in addition, comply with the other essential requirements of the RED Regulations (regarding electromagnetic compatibility and efficient use of radio spectrum). This entire product would be deemed to fall within the scope of the RED Regulations and therefore fall under the remit of ComReg in Ireland.
Conversely, certain other products which although packaged or made available in the same packaging will be enforced in part by ComReg and in part by the CCPC. For example if a power cable of a Wi-Fi enabled kitchen appliance is not combined, assembled or incorporated “in a fixed and permanent way” and can be easily separated, the cable itself will not fall under the remit of ComReg (as it does not have any component radio equipment). The cable’s compliance with the LV Regulations will fall under the remit of the CCPC. In this case, ComReg will enforce compliance with the radio equipment part of the appliance, in many cases this will be the “main” appliance excluding the separable electrical cable.
The obligations for placing radio equipment on the market are set out in full in the RE Regulations. These include: