FCC to Whack Outdated Broadcast Regs

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has released the tentative agenda for the Jan. 30 meeting, and it will be something of a breather after the December and November meetings that included controversial issues including net neutrality and media ownership reg rollbacks.

Among the items are taking FCC chairman Ajit Pai's famous weed whacker to rules still on the books that apply to full-power analog broadcasting, which is no longer allowed, and the analog-to-digital transition, which concluded in June 2009.

Also on the tentative agenda--items can be pulled or voted early, so it could change--are: enhancing wireless emergency alerts, outstanding issues related to the FCC's implementation of the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (CAF II), which is for billions in broadband buildout subsidies available to cable and other ISPs; creating an Office of Economics and Analytics, as chairman Pai proposed; eliminating the requirement that broadcasters file paper copies of contracts and other documents (the FCC now has online filing requirements), and an as-yet unidentified enforcement action. Heretofore, the actions unveiled at public meetings had to do with cracking down on unwanted robocalls.

Related: Parsing a New Net Dereg Reality

In a blog on the agenda, chairman Pai suggested the meat of the meeting would be the CAF II items--two of them, appropriately--which he says are all about closing the digital divide, particularly in rural areas.

He also pointed to the item boosting wireless emergency alerts, saying: "[W]e can and must do even better when it comes to targeting these alerts.

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.