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Upton, Walden Slam FCC UHF Decision

Count the heads of House Energy & Commerce Committee and Communications Subcommittee among those not happy with the FCC's vote to eliminate the UHF discount.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of E&C, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the subcommittee, had advised the FCC before the vote not to make its release of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the trigger date for the demise of the discount and were not happy it had voted 2-1--Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai dissenting--to do so.

The FCC did grandfather transactions currently before the FCC and all current station holdings, although when those UHF's are sold, the grandfather does not get to go along, as it were.

“Today’s action by the FCC reveals a startling failure to recognize the chilling effect of regulatory uncertainty and a disregard for the potential economic consequences of commission action. Rather than following the good process of adopting new rules and then applying them prospectively as we suggested in a letter to the Acting Chairwoman," they said in a statement, "the FCC instead will apply as yet undefined rules to applications filed anytime after today." That is assuming the FCC releases the NPRM Thursday--it was expected to--since it is the release that is the trigger.

“The practical reality of this decision is that the commission has created a regulatory purgatory for broadcasters between now, September 26, 2013, and whenever it gets around to adopting new rules – potentially sidelining countless jobs and billions of dollars in new investment," they said. "The FCC sadly failed in the ultimate effort to pursue policies that promote our economy and create jobs.”