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Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for October – December

Broadcast Deadlines: October 1, 2020 Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Election Deadline – By October 1, all full power and Class A commercial TV stations must upload their must-carry/retransmission consent elections for the 2021-2023 election cycle to their online public inspection files.  Stations are now required to send copies of their elections to MVPDs and to the FCC … Continue Reading

Spectrum Scarcity? What Spectrum Scarcity?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) under Chairman Pai has been nothing if not relentless in its quest to seek out underused or vacant spectrum and repurpose it for 5G uses. To that end, the FCC has announced its tentative agenda for its September 30, 2020 open meeting and it includes some pre-holiday gifts for spectrum-hungry … Continue Reading

Assessing the Benefits of the $100 Million Connected Care Pilot Program

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) Wireline Bureau on September 3, 2020, released a Public Notice providing additional information regarding the upcoming $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program. You will recall that the Commission launched the pilot in April – joining it together in the same order approving the COVID-19 Telehealth Program (FCC 20-44). … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Guidance on Filing Requests for Waiver, Reduction, Deferral, and Installment Payment Plans for 2020 Regulatory Fees – the Bar Is Still High but FCC Has Streamlined and Loosened Some Requirements

On September 4, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice laying out the procedures governing the filing of requests for waiver, reduction, deferral, and installment payment plans for the 2020 regulatory fees.  As we explained yesterday in our blog post regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Report and Order announcing … Continue Reading

Selected New Developments in Broadband

Capitol Hill Negotiations on a second large COVID-19 relief legislation effectively broke down August 7. While the President responded with several stop-gap executive actions, both parties seem to recognize relief legislation is urgently needed and there is speculation that some kind of deal will be cut by mid-September. In the meantime, with the Senate technically … Continue Reading

FCC Announces 2020 Regulatory Fees Calculation, No Widespread Forgiveness for COVID-19 Pandemic

On August 31, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released its Report and Order (Order) establishing new methodologies for calculating 2020 annual regulatory fees, which are due September 25, 2020. In the Order, the FCC flatly rejected arguments by the National Association of Broadcasters and others that the FCC’s new calculation methodology … Continue Reading

FCC Moves to Add New Fees (and Lower the Cost of Others)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing the first major overhaul of FCC application fees in 30 years. Licensees (and hopeful licensees) should take heed: while certain fees are proposed to be lowered, many are proposed to increase, some by a substantial amount. Of particular … Continue Reading

So Much for Civility at the FCC

You thought the Republican and Democratic conventions were nasty? Long festering rancor between Federal Communications Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel broke out into volleys of open epithets and acid-laced sarcasm this week. Strangely, the eruption of hostilities, as in real life, originated over something relatively unimportant: an innocuous draft of a Notice of … Continue Reading

FCC Repeals Radio Duplication Prohibitions

On Thursday, August 6, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted to repeal Section 73.3556 of its Rules and Regulations – a rule that formerly prohibited more than 25% duplication of programming by commonly owned radio stations in the same service (AM or FM) that have 50% or more overlap of their primary service contours.… Continue Reading

FCC Establishes Procedures for Auction of C-Band Spectrum – Auction to Begin on December 8, 2020

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a Public Notice that establishes the procedures for Auction 107, which will make available spectrum in the lower portion of the C-Band, at 3.7-3.98 GHz.   The auction will be for new flexible-use overlay licenses, intended primarily to further the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless, the Internet … Continue Reading

O’Rielly Re-nomination Dismissed

In a rare move this week, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly – a Republican – had his re-nomination to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rescinded by President Trump. O’Rielly’s re-nomination first stalled last week when Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, put it on hold over objections to an FCC decision allowing … Continue Reading

Now Available: 2020 Politcal Broadcasting Rules Refresher

On July 30, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys, Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick, along with the FCC’s political programming experts, Bobby Baker, Gary Schonman, and Sima Nilsson, discussed the requirements and latest developments in the FCC’s political broadcasting rules, including equal time, lowest unit rates, PAC ads, BCRA, and record keeping.… Continue Reading

Mobile Service Providers Will Need to Provide Z-Axis Location Data

In an Order adopted July 17th, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) took another step in its mission to make the precise location of wireless emergency calls more and more granular, to help emergency responders to determine the location of a caller who is injured or held captive and unable to communicate his or her … Continue Reading

127,000 More Reasons to File Proper FCC Applications When Your Company Goes Through Bankruptcy

Recently, we published an article regarding a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Consent Decree where a company agreed to pay a $240,000 penalty for violating the FCC’s rules by engaging in transactions where FCC wireless licenses were transferred without filing for and obtaining the prior consent of the FCC.… Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for August – October

Broadcast Deadlines:  August 1, 2020 Radio Post-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications on August 1. If the renewal application is not filed until the August 3 deadline, wait until then to begin the post-filing announcements. Either way, these announcements … Continue Reading

Safe Harbor Order Could Help Carriers Kick Robocalls to the Curb

On July 17, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) released its latest Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Order”) attempting to stop unwanted and illegal robocalls. The Order creates a “safe harbor” (i.e., legal protection from liability) to protect carriers that block calls based on reasonable analytics or other permissible criteria. … Continue Reading

Getting to the Bottom of the Recent Rural Health Care Funding Announcement

Last month the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) ordered the carry-forward of $198 million in Rural Health Care (RHC) funding for use in 2020.  Seems like good news, but it depends on how you look at it.  But note this action simply makes the funding available — it does not waive or increase the RHC caps for 2020. … Continue Reading

FCC Revises Cable TV Leased Access Rate Formula and Appears to Invite a First Amendment Challenge

In an Order released today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) revised the calculation of maximum permissible rates for cable TV commercial leased access by changing from a formula that sets a uniform rate for all cable tiers to a formula that will set a separate rate for each tier. The result may … Continue Reading

The FCC Designates “988” as a 3-Digit Dialing Code to Reach Suicide Hotline

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted its proposal to establish “988” as a nationwide abbreviated telephone dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline. “988” will replace or supplement the existing 800 number (1-800-273-TALK). The proposal was discussed in our blog post on January 7, 2020.… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes $15,000 Penalty for LPFM Violations of Underwriting Rules

On July 2, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”) against low power FM (LPFM) broadcast station KELS-LP, Greeley, Colorado, in which it assessed a $15,000 civil penalty for the station’s apparent violations of the prohibition on noncommercial educational (NCE) and LPFM broadcast stations … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Confirmation of C-Band Earth Stations Entitled to Reimbursement. Deadline for Filing is July 16th.

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has just released a Public Notice that impacts operators of C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) earth station dishes to receive or transmit programming or data. Previously, the FCC reallocated the lower portion of that band for auction, with incumbents earth stations entitled to reimbursement for their expenses to move their operations to … Continue Reading
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