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FCC: No Plans for Blanket Waiver, Comment Deadline Extensions

The FCC has no plans at this time to issue any blanket waivers of comment deadlines or extensions of rule waivers due to the coronavirus. 

That is according to a senior FCC official speaking on background. 

Just this week, the FCC extended its waiver of Lifeline broadband subsidy recertification and reverification requirements to May 29. It had extended them for 60 days back on March 17. But President Donald Trump announced Sunday (March 29) that the public was being asked to remain at home through May 29 at least as the government tries to "flatten the curve" of the pandemic. 

The FCC has waived a variety of regulations temporarily to help broadband providers deal with the increased traffic from homebound families and insure that low-income residents can get access to what is now literally a broadband lifeline given that it means teleworking and telemedicine and distance learning in the age of social distancing. 

But while there will be no blanket waivers as of now, the official said the FCC would continue to be flexible when asked for comment extensions, looking at them on a case-by-case basis but also through the lens of an unprecedented national health crisis.  

NCTA-The Television & Internet Association, for one, has asked the FCC to delay for six months the June 20 compliance date for truth in billing requirement mandated by Congress, citing the need to focus on dealing with the pandemic. 

John Eggerton
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.