FCC Approves MVPD Email Notifications

The FCC has voted to approve an order that allows MVPDs to transition some of their paper notifications to electronic delivery, or as the FCC put it, to update notification rules for the digital age.

Currently, when cable and satellite operators begin service in a market or delete or reposition a broadcast station they must inform the broadcaster by mail, certified mail or hand delivery. With the unanimous vote by the commission Thursday (Jan. 30), they can now do it by email--as of July 31, 2020.

The FCC said it would reduce costs and environmental waste while speeding notices. It was also a bit of turnabout as fair play. The FCC proposed the change back in July, at the same meeting that they voted an order that allows TV stations to notify MVPDs of their carriage-election changes by email rather than a tree-killing certified mail requirement.

Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said the item was just "simple common sense," as, he joked, the FCC was dragged itself into the mid-1990s, the heyday of email. But he said each media modernization item "moves the needle in the right direction."

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called the item a "thoughtful update." But she also said that not all the FCC's media modernization choices had been good ones, including the elimination of the main studio rule, which she took some time in criticizing for giving companies a green light to cut staffers while continuing to maintain they are local.

John Eggerton

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.