FCC Advances Items of Interest for Broadcasters

At FCC’s monthly meeting this week the agency advanced proceedings exploring ways to make additional use of “C-band” spectrum (3.7 to 4.2 GHz) and proposing revisions to children’s television programming rules.

Currently, satellite operators that aid broadcasters in distribution of programming are among users of the C-band. The FCC, seeking ways to ensure U.S. leadership in next generation 5G wireless technology, is considering whether or not it is feasible to allow mobile broadband to also use the band. In a release, the agency stated, “The Notice proposes to add a mobile (except aeronautical mobile) allocation to all 500 megahertz in the band and seeks comment on various proposals for transitioning part or all of the band for flexible use, working up from 3.7 GHz, including market-based, auction, and alternative mechanisms.” Of note, in light of such deliberations in Washington, NRB suggested last month that its members consider the FCC’s window for registration of existing C-Band earth stations.

Regarding “Kid Vid” rules stemming from the Children's Television Act of 1990, the agency is revisiting requirements around TV “core programming.” Currently, the agency requires that TV stations have at least three hours per week of core programs identified for their entirety by an “E/I” symbol, that such programs must be at least 30 minutes long, that they be aired between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., and that they be regularly scheduled each week. Of interest, the agency notes that its proceeding also “proposes creating a framework under which broadcasters could satisfy their children’s programming obligations by relying in part on special sponsorship efforts and/or special non-broadcast efforts.”

It is noteworthy that the FCC is also planning in August to take next steps on a proceeding related to reimbursement of TV stations affected by the recent spectrum auction. The agency’s release states that its draft proposal will “tentatively conclude that LPTV and TV translator stations are eligible for reimbursement if (1) they filed an application during the Commission’s Special Displacement Window and obtained a construction permit, and (2) were licensed and transmitting for at least 9 of the 12 months prior to April 13, 2017.”

NRB will remain carefully attentive to these matters in the days ahead.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: July 13, 2018


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