WASHINGTON — A committee report accompanying an Federal Communications Commission appropriations bill
that passed by voice vote out of committee last week included some specific advice to the agency on actions
the panel would like it to take. Here are some of the committee’s nonbinding recommendations:
Program Carriage: “The committee urges the FCC to fulfill its implementation obligations under the 1992
Cable Act concerning program-carriage decisions by multichannel video-programming distributors and to establish
a process for expedited review of complaints made by independent channels or others of statutory violations.
“While the FCC has made some notable progress, the Committee urges the FCC to promptly complete the
pending rulemaking and fully implement and comply with the 1992 Cable Act.”
Organizational Structure: “The increase in market-based competition should result in a smaller Commission
with fewer staff. In order to address these issues, the Committee directs the Commission to submit a
review of the current FCC organizational structure as well as a proposal for improvement that reflects today’s
technology landscape and competitive marketplace. This review should be submitted to the House and Senate
Committees on Appropriations within 180 days of enactment of this Act.”
LightSquared: The committee agreed unanimously to encourage the FCC “to work with the licensee [emphasis
ours] to provide other spectrum to deploy broadband services while heeding previous concerns regarding
potential interference to commercially available GPS devices,” and said it would “continue to monitor the FCC’s
consideration of future licenses and waivers.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.