Pay close attention; this stuff is complicated – and it matters.

When it reopened for business after the 16-day government shutdown, about the first thing the FCC did was to announce on its website that all “Commission filing deadlines” that occurred during the shutdown or that would occur up to and including October 22 (with a very limited exception) would be suspended until further notice.  

Approximately 12 hours later, that further notice has been provided in a public notice establishing new filing dates for documents whose deadlines were affected by the shutdown. Pay close attention.

Except as otherwise noted (and please check the exceptions):

  • Filings that would have been due October 1–6 are now due next Tuesday, October 22.
  • Filings that would have been due October 7–16 are now due 16 calendar days after the original filing date. (Example: A filing that originally would have been due on October 7 will now be due on October 23, 16 days later.) If the new date falls on a weekend or holiday, filings are due on the following business day.
  • Regulatory and enforcement filings that would have been due October 17–November 4 are due on November 4, 2013.

The deadlines for responsive pleadings to any of the above are extended by the same number of days.

The public notice does not expressly address the deadline for placing items in television stations’ online public inspection files. Such placements are technically not “filings” in the usual sense. However, the online public file system is maintained by the FCC and was thus unavailable to TV licensees on October 10 (the day by which quarterly issues/programs lists, kidvid commercial compliance certifications and website compliance reports were due in public inspection files). Logically, the 16-day across-the-board extension should apply here as well.  We hope the FCC clarifies this soon.

Exceptions to the extensions described above:

  • Network Outage Reporting System filings were due as usual during the shutdown.
  • Petitions for Reconsideration that came due during the shutdown are now due on October 22.  (Interesting rationale for this particular exception: The deadline for petitions for reconsideration is statutory, so the FCC is technically powerless to waive the deadline; as a work-around, the FCC has simply decided that it will not consider itself open for the filing of documents having statutory deadlines until October 22.)
  • Special Temporary Authorities expiring October 1–22 are extended to until November 4.

The public notice also lists these ten proceedings that are being handled differently:

1.      Verizon Communications, Inc.; Petition for Declaratory Ruling under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act, as Amended, IB Docket No. 13-230. The comments dates set forth in DA 1948 (rel. Sept. 20, 2013) are revised as follows: Comments due by October 25, 2013; replies due by November 1, 2013.

2.      2014 Modification of Average Schedule Company Universal Service High-Cost Loop Support Formula, WC Docket No. 05-337. The comment dates set forth in DA 13-1870 are revised as follows: Comments due by November 4, 2013; replies due by November 19, 2013.

3.      Modernizing the E-Rate Program for Schools and Libraries, WC Docket No. 13-184. On July 23, 2013, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 13-100. The reply comment date is revised as follows: replies due by November 8, 2013.

4.      Domestic section 214 transfer of control applications, WC Docket Nos. 13-223, 13-228, 13-235, 13-237. On October 1, 2013, the Commission issued a Public Notice (DA 13-2020) for domestic section 214 transfer of control applications. That Public Notice stated that comments addressing the applications would be due on the next business day after the Commission re-opens. The new public notice supersedes the October 1, 2013, section 214 Public Notice. In addition to the filing extensions stated here, reply comments for domestic section 214 transfer of control applications will be due seven days after the comment dates established in this Public Notice.

5.      ULS Applications/Notifications.All ULS applications and notifications filed in accordance with the Commission’s rules (e.g., sections 1.913, 1.946) that were originally due on October 1, 2013, through and including November 4, 2013, are now due on November 4, 2013.  The FCC notes that ULS is currently available and encourages applicants and licensees to file any applications and notifications as soon as practicable.  See for information about filing requirements for these applications and notifications.

6.      Vanity Call Sign RequestsDuring the period that the Commission was closed, ULS was not available for Amateur Radio Service licensees to file an application to modify their license grants to show a vanity call sign.  Vanity call sign applications filed via ULS between October 17 and October 22 will all be processed as if they were filed on October 22, 2013.  In addition, any vanity call sign applications that were filed by mail between October 1 and October 22 also will be treated as if they were filed on October 22, 2013.

7.      Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Auction (Auction 902).  The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Wireline Competition Bureau will release a separate Public Notice in the near future announcing new dates and deadlines applicable to Auction 902.  See Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Rescheduled for December 19, 2013; Notice and Filing Requirements and Other Procedures for Auction 902, Public Notice, AU Docket No. 13-53, DA 13-1672, 28 FCC Rcd 11628, 11646, para. 50 (2013) (announcing pre-auction dates and deadlines for Auction 902); see also Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Auction (Auction 902); Short-Form Application Filing Window Suspended; Any Changes to Auction Schedule or Procedures to be Announced Upon Resumption of Operations, Public Notice, AU Docket No. 13-53, DA 13-2014 (rel. Oct. 1, 2013) (suspending short-form application filing window and noting that any changes to the previously scheduled deadline for filing short-form applications and to other previously scheduled procedures related to Auction 902 would be announced by public notice soon after resumption of regular Commission operations).

8.      Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands; Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz, and 2175-2180 MHz Bands; Applications for License and Authority to Operate in the 2155-2175 MHz Band; Petitions for Forbearance Under 47 U.S.C. § 160, Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking GN Docket No. 13-185. The comment dates set forth in FCC 13-102 are revised as follows:  Reply Comments are due by October 28, 2013.

9.      DISH Network Corporation Petition for Waiver and request for Extension of Time, WT Docket No. 13-225.  The comment dates set forth in DA 13-1877 are revised as follows:  Reply Comments are due by October 28, 2013.

10. Reassessment of Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields Limits and Policies in ET Docket Nos. 03-137 and 13-84; FCC 13-39. Reply Comments are due November 18, 2013.

Finally, the FCC warns that individual bureaus and offices may further modify these deadlines by public notice. We will keep you posted.