FCC to Time-Limit Program Carriage Complaints

Exterior of the FCC building in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: FCC)

The FCC plans to vote at its November meeting on a report and order (R&O) to speed up the program access, program carriage, and retransmission consent complaints.

There is currently a one-year statute of limitations, but it allows for a programming vendor to file a program carriage complaint against an MVPD at any time, including years later, with the one-year statute of limitations triggered when the vendor notifies the MVPD.

But FCC chairman Ajit Pai, in announcing the R&O vote, said that "undermines the fundamental purpose of a statute of limitations, which is to ensure the timely filing of complaints."

Pai said the R&O would clarify that the one-year limit is triggered "when an MVPD rejects or fails to acknowledge a request for program carriage or request to negotiate for program carriage."

It would also modify the effective dates for carriage decisions by its Administrative Law Judge to square with other ALJ decisions. It would also align rules for resolving complaints against program carriage, program access, retransmission consent, and open video systems (OVS).

"These changes would help to ensure an expeditious complaint process," said Pai.

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.