In the closing days of 2015 we reported on the FCC’s long-awaited decision on how it plans to deal with LPTV and TV translator stations as it works its way through the post-auction repack process. The Commission’s decision has now been published in the Federal Register in two separate chunks: the first includes the Report and Order portion of the decision in which new or revised rules were adopted; the second includes the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking portion in which the FCC put out for comment a number of additional rule changes it has in mind.
The publication of the Report and Order serves to establish a number of dates. First, the new rules will take effect on March 2, 2016 (except for Section 74.800, which will have to be reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget first). Second, anyone who wants to ask the FCC to reconsider any aspect of the new rules will have until March 2 to file a petition for reconsideration with the Commission. Third, if you’re inclined to seek judicial review of the new rules, you’ve got until April 1 to do so (unless you’ve got your heart set on having your appeal heard in a particular Federal Circuit, in which case you’d best brush up on the steps you’ll have to take, soon).
Meanwhile, the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (actually, it’s the “Fourth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking”, but really, who’s counting?) sets the deadlines for comments and reply comments on the proposed changes. Comments are due by February 22, 2016 and replies by March 3. All interested folks should note the relatively abbreviated comment periods – the FCC doesn’t appear to be wasting any time. Comments and replies can be filed electronically through the FCC’s ECFS webpage: refer to Proceeding Numbers 03-185, 12-268, 14-175 and 15-175.