If you’ve been paying attention to the inexorable march of the STELA amendments, you will recall that the rule changes adopted by the Commission last November (on an expedited basis, at Congress’s behest) took effect in December and January, EXCEPT for the new version of Section 73.686(e). That last piece of the puzzle involves the procedures for measuring the field strength of digital television signals. Because it involves an “information collection”, it’s got to go through the standard Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) drill before it can become effective.
Step One in the drill: the FCC invites PRA-related comments on the revised rule. Step Two: the FCC bundles up the proposed rule with any comments that get filed and ships the package over to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Step Three: OMB invites more comments. Step Four (best case scenario, FCC-wise): OMB approves the new rules. Step Five: the FCC announces the approval, and the rule takes effect.
Where are we on Section 73.686(e)? Step One. In a notice in the Federal Register, the Commission has spread the word that comments on that proposal may be filed with the Commission until April 19, 2011. (If you’re keeping track, that means that that particular rule isn’t likely to take effect until June or thereabouts, at the earliest.)