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FCC Cable Relay Applications Must Be Electronic

FCC's 2020 seal
(Image credit: FCC)

The FCC said that applications for Television Relay Service (CARS) licenses (that would be form 327) must now be submitted online.

CARS licenses* are used by cable operators and other MVPDs for point-to-point or point-to-multipoint microwave relay of programming, though not for delivering directly to subs.

The FCC's Media Bureau, which processes the applications, said Wednesday (Dec. 16) it would no longer be accepting paper filings of the forms and that payments of fees must also be electronic.

Also Read: Cable Says Flash Cut to Full DBS Fee

The FCC said the move "reduces the agency’s expenditures (including eliminating the annual fee for the bank’s services) and the cost of manually processing each transaction, with little or no inconvenience to the Commission’s regulatees, applicants, and the public."

Presumably media companies, particularly ones that also provide broadband, have access to the internet so won't have to drive to the nearest Starbucks parking lot to file their application for a CARS license.

The bureau said applicants must also submit an electronic copy--a PDF for example--of their electronic payment or risk having the application rejected. The FCC in August, in seeking to raise the CARS fees, said it estimated the new cost for processing a CARS license at $450, up from $305.

Also Read: FCC Boosts Regulatory Fees

The FCC did not say how many folks still use paper applications.

*"Cable systems obtain certain signals, sometimes from distances impractical to serve by cable, through microwave relay stations.  Microwave systems may also be used by cable operators for distribution of signals within the cable system where it is impractical to run cable due to its cost or due to potential signal deterioration.  Cable operators may purchase microwave relay service from companies providing such common carrier services, or they may operate their own relay stations licensed by the Commission as CARS stations." Source: FCC.