Just two weeks after its release by the Commission, the sprawling Public Notice setting out the details of how the Broadcast Incentive Auction is to be conducted has been published in the Federal Register. (We provided an overview of the notice here.) This triggers the 30-day period during which affected parties can seek reconsideration (by the delegated authorities responsible for the Notice – in this case, presumably the Wireless and Media Bureaus) or review (by the full Commission). Anyone so inclined has until November 30, 2015 to get their pleadings in – but, in view of the juggernaut nature of the auction process at this point, it would probably be best not to hold out too much hope of success.
Interestingly, the Federal Register version of the Notice (as opposed to the version released by the FCC) states that “[t]his document contains new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.” Normally, when our old friend the PRA rears its ugly head like this, the information collection requirements in question have to be sent over to the Office of Management and Budget for its review and approval. However, in this instance, the Notice provides no indication of what new or modified information collections may be involved (although we’re guessing that Form 177 may be at least a partial answer), and it similarly offers no indication that anything will be subject to OMB review.
Frankly, we’re not sure what to make of that. It is, after all, the FCC’s burden to jump through the PRA’s various hoops before imposing new or modified information collections, and a failure by the FCC to do so prevents the Commission from penalizing anybody who does not comply with those information collections. We doubt that this will eventually interfere with the timely roll-out of the auction as described in the Notice, but we mention it here for the record.