As we reported the day before Thanksgiving, the Commission – acting at Congress’s direction – adopted a number of changes in its rules relating to satellite carriage of broadcast programming.  Included among the FCC’s actions was a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (R&O/FNPRM) in which the Commission addressed prediction of digital TV field strength levels at particular locations. (Such predictions are an important factor when it comes to carriage of “significantly viewed” stations by satellite carriers.) The Commission adopted a modified Longley-Rice model, but also (in the FNPRM portion of its order) solicited comments on some further changes suggested by an earlier commenter. Among other things, the Commission is curious about the commenter’s suggestions relative to [WARNING: Intense techno-speak dead ahead; deploy shields as needed]: “1) calculation of diffraction loss close to an obstacle or leading up to and following a pair of obstacles and 2) a factual or scientific basis for explaining the additional losses in the line of sight range above and beyond the free space loss and two-ray-loss.”

The R&O/FNPRM has now been published in the Federal Register (in separate chunks: the R&O may be found here, and the FNPRM may be found here). That in turn sets the effective date of the changes adopted in the R&O and the comment deadlines for the FNPRM.  The effective date is January 21, 2011. Comments in response to the FNPRM are due by January 21, 2011, and reply comments by February 7, 2011.