FCC Updates EEO Recruitment EEO Policy; MVPDs Permitted to Use Internet as Sole Recruitment Source
May 1, 2017 On April 21, 2017, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling updating the FCC’s policy implementing its equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) rules. Specifically, the FCC found that Internet usage has become sufficiently widespread to permit broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) to use the Internet as a sole recruitment source to meet the “wide dissemination” requirement in the FCC’s EEO rules.
Congress Uses Congressional Review Act to Repeal 2016 Privacy Order
April 14, 2017 Earlier this month, President Trump signed into law a congressional Joint Resolution pursuant to the Congressional Review Act repealing the new broadband and telecommunications privacy rules adopted last October by the FCC in its 2016 Privacy Order. Because the bulk of the FCC’s new privacy rules had not yet gone into effect, this action effectively returns broadband providers to the status quo prior to adoption of the Order. That is, broadband providers remain classified as Title II telecommunications carriers in their provision of broadband Internet access service under the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order and therefore subject to the statutory commands of Sections 201 (acts and practices of common carriers must be just and reasonable), 202 (prohibiting unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory acts or practices), and 222 (protections for customer proprietary network information – CPNI) with respect to safeguarding customer privacy.
FCC Denies Must Carry Complaint Filed by Low-Power Station
March 31, 2017 On March 16, 2017, the FCC released an Order denying a must carry complaint filed by a low-power television (“LPTV”) station in Cleveland, Mississippi against cable provider NewWave Communications. The FCC denied the complaint after finding that the low-power station failed to establish that there is no full-power station licensed to a community within the County served by NewWave’s system.
FCC Releases Order Waiving Enhanced Transparency Requirements for Small Providers
March 9, 2017 On March 2, 2017, the FCC released an Order waiving, for five years, the 2015 enhanced reporting requirements for broadband Internet access service (“BIAS”) providers with 250,000 or fewer broadband connections. The Order applies retroactively to the date the enhanced reporting requirements became effective, January 17, 2017, and will be in effect until March 2, 2022.
FCC Votes to Waive Enhanced Transparency Rules for Smaller Providers for Five Years
February 24, 2017 Relief Expanded to Include BIAS Providers with 250,000 or Fewer Broadband Connections.
At its February 23rd Open Agenda Meeting, the FCC approved by a 2-1 vote an Order waiving compliance with the 2015 enhanced transparency rules for smaller broadband Internet access service (“BIAS”) providers for five years. The Order, not yet released, mirrors the bipartisan compromise reflected in the pending Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2017.
In addition, the FCC expanded the relief to cover BIAS providers with 250,000 or fewer broadband connections, and made the relief retroactive to January 17, 2017, the date the enhanced transparency rules took effect.
FCC Eliminates Requirement to Maintain Principal Headend Location Information in the Public Inspection File
February 6, 2017 On January 31, 2017, the FCC released a Report and Order eliminating the requirement for cable operators to maintain for public inspection the designation and location of a cable system’s principal headend. Cable operators will be required to provide principal headend location information to the FCC, broadcasters and local franchise authorities (“LFAs”) upon request, though operators may, alternatively, continue to place this information in their online public inspection files.