FCC to Shutter Most Operations Jan. 3

If the partial government shutdown continues through Thursday (Jan. 3), which appears likely, the FCC will shut down most operations midday Thursday.

Employees will have about four hours to complete "an orderly shutdown."

One thing not affected, the FCC says, is the resumption of the 28 GHz spectrum auction. The FCC said that even if most operations shut down Thursday, the auction will re-start at 10 a.m. as scheduled, and continue throughout the day and into the foreseeable future, though it looks to be winding down soon. 

"Please note that in the event of a partial government shutdown, bidding in Auction 101 will not be affected," the FCC told bidders before the holiday break.

The FCC's shutdown plan includes up to 200 employees who will remain on the job "supporting spectrum auction-related activities." They can remain because their salaries are not funded out of annual appropriations. Some outside contractors will also be used to support auction activities.

During the October 2013, three-week, government shutdown, the FCC shuttered its web site and had to suspend its filing deadlines and suspend its merger-review shot clocks. Commissioners and some essential personnel still came to work, however, as will be the case this time around.

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.