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Selected New Developments in Broadband – November

Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead. Attention is on smaller pieces of bi-partisan legislation addressing unwanted robocalls, narrowly targeted funding for “digital dead zones,” and mapping. Targeted infrastructure funding is partly addressed by a Senate appropriations bill that devotes … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for November – January

Broadcast Deadlines: October 30, 2019 Closed Captioning – Reply Comments due in response to the FCC’s Public Notice (CG Docket 05-231, DA-19-776A1) requesting comments on a Petition for Declaratory Ruling and/or Rulemaking on Live Closed Captioning Quality Metrics and the Use of Automatic Speech Recognition Technologies by Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, … Continue Reading

FCC Invites Comments on Request for Greater Flexibility for TV DTS Transmitters

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on a petition filed jointly by America’s Public Television Stations (“APTS”) and the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”), requesting a relaxation of restrictions on where digital television stations may locate Distributed Transmission System (“DTS”) antennas. Digital television technology allows a station to broadcast from multiple transmitters on … Continue Reading

COME AND GET IT! 130 FM Channels for Sale by the FCC (But You’ll Have to Pony Up a High Bid to Get One)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced that on April 28, 2020, it will offer for sale at auction 130 FM channels that are currently vacant.  These are channels formerly occupied by stations that lost or cancelled their licenses, channels sold to bidders who failed to pay their bids, channels that were offered but drew … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Extension of Filing Deadline for LPTV/TV Translator Reimbursement

As we wrote about in August on CommLawBlog, Low Power TV (LPTV), TV Translator Stations, and FM stations intending to request reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of the repack of full-power and Class A television stations were required to file their Initial Reimbursement Form (Form 2100, Schedule 399) by October 15, 2019. Now … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – October

Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead.  Attention now is on smaller but important pieces of bi-partisan broadband legislation such as the Secure and Trusted Communications Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on September 24.  The bill would prohibit … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for October – December

Broadcast Deadlines: October 1, 2019 License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands must be filed in the Commission’s Licensing and Management System (LMS).  These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Report, also … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Extension of the Biennial Broadcast Ownership Report Filing Deadline

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced in an order published on September 17, 2019 that it will delay the filing deadline to January 31, 2020, for broadcast ownership reports (two months later than the original deadline). This applies to licensees of commercial and noncommercial AM, FM, TV, Class A, and Low Power Television (LPTV) … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – September

Capitol Hill House Democrats’ “Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act) –containing $40 billion dedicated for broadband, largely through reverse auctions – remains pending.  While prospects for significant federal spending on a new broadband program remain in limbo, Congress has allocated further funding to the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) ReConnect funding … Continue Reading

Now Available: Political Broadcasting 2019: A Refresher Course Webinar

With Federal, state, and local elections on the horizon (to say nothing of FCC license renewals), it’s a good time to brush up on the FCC’s political broadcasting rules. This webinar, presented in collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, and led by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys Dan Kirkpatrick and Frank Montero, and featuring special … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Annual Regulatory Fee Order – Payments Due Sept. 24, 2019

As we begin the march into cooler weather, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has released the final schedule of regulatory fees for 2019 and their due date.  Despite some initial confusion around the release of the deadline, the confirmed date is September 24, 2019 and the Fee Filer website is now active … Continue Reading

Revised Children’s TV Rules Effective in Part Soon – Current Paperwork Requirements Still in Place, Further Comments Requested

As we previously reported, many of the revised children’s TV rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) in July are to go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, and we now know what that effective date will be:  September 16, 2019.  That effective date will apply to … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for September – November

Broadcast Deadlines: September 16, 2019 Children’s TV Programming – Support for E/I Programs on Other Stations –  Comments are due in response to the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which seeks to further revise the children’s television programming rules and policies to establish standards that would give broadcasters greater flexibility to meet their obligation … Continue Reading

Finding Out Where You Are When You Call 911

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted new rules requiring manufacturers, importers, vendors, installers and managers of multi-line telephone systems (“MLTS”) to configure those systems to provide automated location information (called “dispatchable location”) and a location-specific callback number when a caller makes an emergency call to 911, at least to the extent feasible using technology … Continue Reading

Robocall Roundup: New Robocall Act Goes to the Senate

Amidst the polarization in Washington, there remains one thing nearly everyone agrees on; no one likes robocalls. Last month, the House passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) to take several steps to curb robocallers and adopts stiffer penalties for robocallers (particularly robocallers who intentionally violate the … Continue Reading

Children’s TV Reforms – Paperwork Reduction One Step Closer

The Federal Communication Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released the much-discussed changes in its rules relating to children’s television programming on July 12, 2019 in a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, which include a reduction in the frequency of filing Children’s Television reports and the information required in those reports, … Continue Reading

REC ‘N’ Roll in the FM Band: LPFM Changes Proposed, NCE-FM Changes Requested

Yes, REC Networks (“RECNET”) is on a roll with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) when it comes to the FM radio broadcast band.  Describing itself as a “leading advocate for a citizen’s access to spectrum with a heavy focus on the LPFM and full-service non-commercial radio,” RECNET has succeeded in getting the FCC to propose … Continue Reading

Reminder: EAS National Test Scheduled for August 7

Unless it is delayed by a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) are on track to conduct a combined nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, August 7, at 2:20 p.m. EDT.  For most participants, this year’s test will be disseminated only using the broadcast … Continue Reading

Now Available: 2019 FCC License Renewal Webinar

On Tuesday, July 30th, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick presented a webinar on the FCC license renewal process to the Florida Association of Broadcasters. They covered many steps in the renewal process including the filing of the required FCC Forms for full power radio and translator stations using the new LMS … Continue Reading

Barreling Down the Road to 5G, FCC Votes to Relax EBS Spectrum Rules

On June 20, 2019, I blogged about the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) plan to vote on July 10 to relax the rules governing the Educational Broadband Service (“EBS”), including eliminating the requirement to devote part of the air time to educational purposes and opening up license eligibility to commercial entities. Sure enough, the FCC voted, … Continue Reading

FCC Makes Leased Access Rules More Cable Operator Friendly, Opens the Door to Eliminating Them

On June 7, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a Report and Order (“R&O”) revising the Commission’s rules under which independent programmers may lease cable TV channels to retransmit their programming (“Leased Access Rules”).   Leased Access has rarely been used, due to concerns by both cable operators and programmers, and the … Continue Reading
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