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No Word Yet on Any FCC Comment Deadline Grace Period

The FCC has yet to announce any blanket extension on the many comments and reply comments it gets--on a rolling basis throughout the year--on orders and proposed rulemakings upon which it is required to seek public comment. 

For example, on Monday (March 16), the FCC established comment dates for its cable truth-in-billing item of April 6 (initial) and April 13 (reply). 

But it had already signaled the initial comment date would be 30 days after the item published in the Federal Register, which it did March 16. So that was not necessarily a guide to the FCC's public comment policy going forward into new virus-circumscribed process territory.

Given that the FCC often, though it always says "not routinely," grants extensions for dates that fall close to holidays, and given that the coronavirus is arguably a once-in-a-century event that has caused logistical unrest the likes of which the current generation has never seen, look for it to provide some flexibility on public input in the time of COVID-19. 

A spokesperson for FCC chair Ajit Pai had no comment.  

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.