FCC Public Notice Asks What Media Regulations to Eliminate

May 23, 2017

On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Public Notice initiating a review of its rules applicable to television and radio broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite television providers. The stated purpose of the review is “to eliminate or modify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome.” In addition to seeking comment on what rules should be modified or repealed generally, the FCC also asked if there are specific rules from which small businesses should receive regulatory relief.

This proceeding almost certainly will cover familiar territory for media entities, including operational rules, notification requirements, the retransmission consent regime, and the program carriage and program access rules. At the same time, given the FCC’s obligation to review its media ownership rules quadrennially, those rules are excluded from the instant review, as are the FCC’s recently adopted video accessibility requirements.

Comments are due by July 5, 2017 and replies are due by August 4, 2017.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the review is designed to overcome “regulatory inertia.” Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn dissented from the Public Notice, however, claiming that “the FCC’s majority starts with a premise that advancing the public interest can only be achieved by clearing the books of rules for the benefit of industry.”

If you are interested in submitting comments, please contact the Wiley Rein attorney who regularly handles your FCC matters or one of the attorneys listed on this client alert.

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