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Updated 2018-08-16 21:21
EAS and WEA National Tests Scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20; ETRS Form 1 due Aug. 27
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the FCC have announced Thursday, Sept. 20 at 2:20 p.m. EDT as the scheduled date and time for this year’s annual nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). (Note that unlike the past two years, the scheduling date is on a Thursday, not a Wednesday as some...… Continue Reading
FCC Streamlines Pole Attachment Rules to Promote Broadband Deployment
On Aug. 3 the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling which streamlined pole attachment procedures and preempted state and local laws regulations, and policies imposing a moratoria on telecommunications deployment. The FCC’s actions seek to speed the process and reduce costs associated with new utility pole attachments to facilitate broadband...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines August 2018
Do you know what FCC telecom and broadcast deadlines are approaching? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH at (703) 812-0400 if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. Telecom Deadlines: August 3, 2018 – Quarterly 911 Live Call Data Reports – Nationwide CMRS...… Continue Reading
FCC Adopts Uniform Formal Complaint Procedural Rules
After decades of handling formal complaints using no less than three different sets of rules, the FCC has finally adopted uniform procedures that generally apply to all formal complaints filed with the Commission. Alongside Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr praised the measure to get formal complaints all under one roof. However,...… Continue Reading
FCC Announces Comment Deadline for Proposed New Kid Vid Rules
We wrote on July 5 that the FCC released a Draft NPRM intended to significantly relax the Kid Vid rules. The Commission officially adopted the NPRM at its July meeting on July 12. The Commission’s Media Bureau has now announced that comments will be due for the Children’s Television Programming NPRM on Sept. 24 and...… Continue Reading
D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC Reinstatement of UHF Discount
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today dismissed challenges to the FCC’s April 2017 decision to reinstate the UHF Discount. That discount allows broadcast television station owners to count only 50 percent of households served by UHF stations when calculating a station’s compliance with the FCC’s national ownership cap, which limits...… Continue Reading
FCC Announces the Next Step in Licensing Next Generation TV
When the FCC released its Next Gen TV Report and Order in November 2017, we wrote about how this authorized television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television transmission standard (also known as ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The rules from that Order became effective on February 2, 2018, except for the...… Continue Reading
FCC 2018 Application Fee Schedule Announced
On July 10, the FCC released an Order on adjustments to the application fees that the Commission collects from applicants. The Commission is required to adjust these fees every two years to keep pace with the changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This year’s application fees will go up by 3.7 percent in response...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline Announced for FM Class C4 Inquiry
We wrote on June 10 that the FCC has launched a Notice of Inquiry looking toward the creation of a new “C4” class of FM broadcast station in areas outside the Northeast and Southern California, with an effective radiated power (ERP) limit of 12 kW. These stations would have more power than Class A stations,...… Continue Reading
ETRS Form One Due Aug. 27 for All EAS Participants
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced today that all EAS participants (which includes most broadcasters and cable and DBS operators) must complete their 2018 ETRS Form One on or before Aug. 27. The substance of Form One in ETRS is essentially the same as last year and requests identifying information on a...… Continue Reading
REPUBLICATION: FCC Announces Extension of Filing Window to Oct. 17, 2018 for C Band Receive Only Earth Stations
CommLawBlog Update: On Saturday, July 7 a CommLawBlog post was republished due to a website error. The republished blog post entitled, “July 18 Filing Deadline Approaching for FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz C Band” said that a filing deadline was approaching for all FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2...… Continue Reading
July 18 Filing Deadline Approaching for FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz C Band
The filing window for receive only C Band earth stations closes July 18. As a reminder, the FCC instituted a filing freeze on applications in the 3.7 – 4.2 GHz Band but allowed for a 90-day filing window exception (which we wrote about here) to allow the filing of new or modification applications for C...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines July–August 2018
Do you know what FCC telecom and broadcast deadlines are approaching? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH at (703)812-0400 if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. Telecom Deadlines: July – No scheduled reporting/ certification deadlines for this month. August 1, 2018 –...… Continue Reading
Major Kid Vid Revisions Coming Soon… as the FCC Releases a Draft NPRM
When FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly published a blog post back in January that called for the reexamination of the Children’s Programming Requirements, we questioned whether the requirements would still exist in the near future. We can now report that we are not likely to see the complete demise of the FCC’s Children Programming Requirements (colloquially...… Continue Reading
LPTV/TV Translator Minor Change Freeze Lifted
The FCC has lifted the freeze on filing applications for minor changes in existing Low Power TV (LPTV) and TV translator stations, effective today, July 3. The freeze was lifted without advance warning, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. This process is different from the recent window for filing displacement applications...… Continue Reading
Aug. 1 Comment Deadline Set for Eliminating Posting of Broadcasting License Proceeding
If you were waiting to let the FCC know your thoughts on eliminating the requirement that broadcasters post their licenses, wait no more! The FCC has announced the comment deadline is Aug. 1 with reply comments due Aug. 16. As Matt McCormick wrote last month, the FCC’s push to eliminate the pesky license posting rules...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline Set on ‘Leased’ Access Channels
As we wrote on June 15, the FCC’s rules for leasing channels on cable television systems have never brought about an active leasing marketplace. The FCC is now taking another look at the situation, issuing a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in an old 2007 docket and inviting comments on whether to make adjustments in...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline for FM Translator Reforms Extended to Aug. 6
The FCC announced yesterday that it is extending the deadline for comments and reply comments on proposed rule changes to the FCC’s procedures for resolving complaints of interference caused by FM translators. The new deadline is set for Aug. 6 with reply comments due Sept. 5. Several parties requested an extension because of the complexity of the issues...… Continue Reading
Supreme Court Says Warrant Needed to Grab Cellphone Location Data
Just when you think you have a beat on the Supreme Court, they always seem to surprise you. Take the decision issued in Carpenter v. U.S., issued last Friday, June 22. The court held that a judicial warrant, based on probable cause, is required before law enforcement officials can call up your cellphone company and...… Continue Reading
FCC Announces Extension of Filing Window to Oct. 17, 2018 for C Band Receive Only Earth Stations
The Commission has announced a 90-day extension of the filing window for C Band receive only earth stations to Oct. 17, 2018. We previously reported that the Commission had opened a filing window until July 18 to file applications for fixed-satellite (FSS) earth stations in the C Band by entities that own or operate existing FSS...… Continue Reading
‘Leased’ Access or ‘Least’ Access? FCC Chucks 2008 Order and Asks What It Should Do Next
Requirements that cable television systems make a certain amount of channel capacity available for leasing to non-affiliated programmers have been in place since the time when George Orwell predicted that “Big Brother” would control the world – 1984. The leasing rules have never brought about an active leasing marketplace. The FCC is now taking another...… Continue Reading
U.S. v. AT&T and Time Warner: The Death of the ‘Must-Have’ Programming Theory
In a decision issued Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner. In doing so, he rejected the “must-have” programming theory that was the core of the government’s antitrust case seeking to block the merger. The “must-have” programming theory asserts...… Continue Reading
FCC Advances Toward 5G
Not long from now, your new phone will come with 5G mobile data service: dizzyingly fast with near-zero latency (delay). But don’t expect service everywhere. 5G needs high frequencies for its high data capacity; but the physics of those frequencies means the range will be short, a few hundred meters at most. This will require...… Continue Reading
July 18 Filing Deadline Approaching for FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz C Band
The filing window for receive only C Band earth stations closes July 18. As a reminder, the FCC instituted a filing freeze on applications in the 3.7 – 4.2 GHz Band but allowed for a 90-day filing window exception (which we wrote about here) to allow the filing of new or modification applications for C...… Continue Reading
FM Class C4 Station Proposal Hits the Streets
The FCC has launched a Notice of Inquiry looking toward the creation of a new “C4” class of FM broadcast station, with an effective radiated power (ERP) limit of 12 kW. Although recent press reports suggested that the proposal was getting nowhere at the FCC, someone must have sent in a turn-around specialist, and the...… Continue Reading
FCC Enforces Against Drone Radios
We amateur drone pilots are well schooled in the dangers. We don’t fly close to airports, near power lines, or anywhere in the no-drone-zone that stretches across the entirety of the Washington D.C. region (including, sadly, our own CommLawBlog rooftop deck, which would otherwise be a great place to fly). But we don’t worry much...… Continue Reading
FM Translator Reforms Comment Deadline Set for July 6
A summary of the FCC’s proposed rule changes regarding procedures to resolve complaints of interference caused by FM Translators to primary stations was published in the Federal Register today. That event established July 6 as the deadline for initial comments and August 6 as the deadline for replies. The FCC proposals are designed to streamline...… Continue Reading
FCC Moves to Eliminate Posting of Broadcasting License
Fifty-years ago this fall, as a bewildered University of Oregon freshman, I showed up for an orientation session for newbies who wanted to be on the air at what was then student-programmed KWAX. The station’s chief engineer introduced us to the program log, told us how to take meter readings (required every half hour as...… Continue Reading
FCC Establishes Funds for Post-Hurricane Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
The FCC on Tuesday announced the establishment of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and the Connect USVI Fund in an effort to help “rebuild, improve, and expand voice and broadband networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” These funds are part of the FCC’s ongoing efforts to rebuild communications networks in Puerto...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes 2018 Regulatory Fees
As we pack up our swimming trunks and beach umbrellas for the unofficial start of summer, the FCC this week issued its 2018 Regulatory Fee Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). This NPRM puts in motion the process for payment of regulatory fees which will likely be due sometime in September. For the most part, the...… Continue Reading
Let’s Try This Again – FCC Seeks Comments on TCPA/Robocall Issues Remanded By D.C. Circuit.
Like telemarketing “robocalls” that never seem to go away, the FCC’s attempts to clarify important and difficult statutory and regulatory issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) seem to constantly reoccur. Now the FCC is trying again, with a Public Notice seeking comments on: the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS), how...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes Rules to Reform Procedures on FM Translator Station Complaints
The FCC at its May Open Meeting adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing reforms to the Commission’s current procedures used to resolve complaints of interference caused by FM translator stations. As the NPRM recites, the FM translator service was instituted in 1970 as a way to improve reception of FM radio stations in...… Continue Reading
FCC Enforces Regulations Against LED Signs
Those bright, colorful LED signs are up everywhere. They advertise gasoline prices, announce church services, and promote specials at the dry-cleaner. You can program them to say anything you want, with eye-catching animation. And sometimes they cause interference to radio communications. Wait — LED signs? CommLawBlog readers know all about radio interference from well pumps and fluorescent lights and (of course) bitcoin...… Continue Reading
Bye Bye Net Neutrality Starting June 11
Mark your calendars because the time has come: as of June 11 the FCC announced yesterday that its Open Internet rules (better known as “net neutrality”) will cease and new FCC rules governing the Internet will take effect. This was the latest in a series of procedural milestones in the net neutrality debate. In a...… Continue Reading
Changes Are Coming for the Key Frequency Band at 4 GHz
Radio spectrum and real estate have a lot in common. They’re not making any more of either; and for both, location really does matter. “Location,” for spectrum, means frequency. Much as different real estate locations best serve different purposes, different technological applications work best in different frequency ranges. Like prime downtown addresses, though, all the...… Continue Reading
FCC Grants Puerto Rico Broadcasters Recovery Relief Request for FM Translator Applicants Impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma
On May 1, the FCC’s Media and Wireless Bureaus granted a request filed by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys Frank Montero and Keenan Adamchak on behalf of the Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association (PRBA) to waive the FCC’s rules limiting the scope of settlements involving mutually exclusive (MX) FM translator applications filed in the Auction 100...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast Deadlines May – June 2018
Do you know what FCC filing deadlines are in the coming months? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. May 15, 2018 – Elimination of the Requirement to File EEO Mid-Term Reports – Reply Comments...… Continue Reading
FCC Issues Temporary Freeze on Application Filings for Fixed-Satellite Earth Station Licenses and Other Satellites in the 3.7-4.2 GHz “C”- Band
Effective as of April 19, the Commission last week issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for fixed-satellite (FSS) earth station licenses, receive-only earth station registrations, and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band, known as the C-Band. Currently, the Commission has an ongoing...… Continue Reading
CBRS: The Path Ahead
The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) was originally envisioned as a true people’s broadband radio service – one that would be either free or highly affordable for small, locally-based operations of limited breadth and duration. The paradigm was a conscious break from the Metropolitan Statistical Area – or- larger sized service areas with 10-year renewable...… Continue Reading
The FCC Looks Toward the Further Commercialization of the Educational Broadband Service
On the books for the FCC’s May Open Meeting will be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding rule changes to establish commercial eligibility for Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licenses and to “rationalize” the EBS service areas. EBS is not a well-known radio service, so to appreciate the significance of these changes, a little history...… Continue Reading
The FCC Moves to Accommodate Small Satellites
Satellites – even small ones – need radio spectrum. Without radios to communicate, a satellite is just a hunk of metal and plastic in the sky. The first man-made satellite, the Russian Sputnik in 1957, carried nothing but a radio transmitter. It sent a sequence of beeps that said: I am here. Early communications satellites...… Continue Reading
Multi-Line Telephone Systems and Enterprise Communications Systems; Kari’s Law and Other 911-Related Developments
Earlier this year, the President signed into federal law the Kari’s Law Act of 2017, a measure aimed at ensuring multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) users can directly access emergency personnel by dialing 911 without first dialing an access code. As you’ve probably observed, the passage of this new federal law was somewhat bittersweet, as the...… Continue Reading
LPTV Displacement Filing Window Extended to June 1
On April 18, Commission’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau announced that it was extending the special filing window for displaced Low Power Television and TV Translator Stations for a few extra weeks. The window for filing such applications will now close on June 1 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. The original due date was...… Continue Reading
$40 Million FCC Settlement with T-Mobile for Rural Call Completion Issues Signal of Things to Come
Callers placing long distance calls to rural areas have, at times, experienced difficulties in having their calls go through. This occurs most often in rural areas where the costs incurred by long distance providers have generally been higher than in non-rural areas. In 2012, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling which determined that carriers that...… Continue Reading
FCC Reaches $40 Million Settlement with T-Mobile on Rural Call Completion Issues
Callers placing long distance calls to rural areas have, at times, experienced difficulties in having their calls go through. This occurs most often in rural areas where the costs incurred by long distance providers have generally been higher than in non-rural areas. In 2012, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling which determined that carriers that...… Continue Reading
Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part IV: What’s Next – New FCC Rulemakings and Impact on Litigation
Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases they serve a useful function, but they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order intended to broaden the number of calls subject...… Continue Reading
Comments on FCC Proposed EEO Form 397 Elimination due by April 30; Reply Comments Due May 15
In March 2018, the FCC proposed eliminating the Equal Employment Opportunity Mid-Term Report (also known as Form 397) and now those wishing to voice their opinions can do so until April 30. As we’ve discussed before, this is part of the FCC’s ongoing Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative (spearheaded by Chairman Pai). Currently, Form 397...… Continue Reading
FCC Issues Big Fines to Sprint and Mobilitie for Siting Violations
(But Doesn’t Offer Much Explanation as to Details or Guidance for Future Acceptable Action) On April 10, the FCC released Orders and associated Consent Decrees resolving investigations into alleged violations of the site registration and/or pre-construction environmental review procedures by Sprint and Mobilitie. In the past, the Commission has made it clear that it means...… Continue Reading
Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part III: The Problem of Reassigned Phone Numbers
Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a...… Continue Reading
Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part II: Revocation of Consumer Consent
Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a...… Continue Reading
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