FCC Adopts Rules Permitting Broadcaster’s Voluntary Use of ATSC 3.0; New Signal Standard is Not Backward Compatible with Current MVPD Equipment
December 5, 2017 On November 16, 2017, the FCC adopted an Order permitting broadcast stations to voluntarily transmit signals in the new ATSC 3.0 technical standard, also known as “NextGen TV.” Before doing so, stations will need to obtain approval from the FCC and will also be required to make their signal available in the current ATSC 1.0 technical standard through simulcasting. While the Order does not require cable operators to carry ATSC 3.0 signals under the FCC’s must-carry rules, the FCC declined to adopt rules addressing the issue of ATSC 3.0 signals in retransmission consent negotiations.
FCC Issues Notice of Violation of Tower Lighting Rules; Antenna Structure Owners Are Reminded to Register and Maintain Structures
November 21, 2017 Last week, the New Orleans Office of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) to East Arkansas Broadcasters, Inc. for potentially violating the FCC’s antenna structure lighting rules. Specifically, the NOV claims that the lighting system on a tower owned by East Arkansas Broadcasters, Inc. in Jonesboro, Arkansas is not currently in working order.
FINAL REMINDER: National EAS Test Form 3 Due November 13, 2017
November 7, 2017 As detailed in the Public Notice released by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, all Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) Participants, including cable operators, must report detailed information about their performance in the national EAS test held on September 27, 2017 by filing their EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”) Form Three by November 13, 2017.
FCC Reminds Video Programming Distributors of Televised Emergency Information Accessibility Obligations; Distributors Must Make Televised Emergency Information Accessible to Persons Who Are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind or Visually Impaired
October 9, 2017 On September 28, 2017, the FCC released a Public Notice reminding video programming distributors (“VPDs”), including cable operators and other distributors of video programming, of their obligation to make televised emergency information accessible, as required by FCC rules, to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. The Public Notice also contains recommendations for compliance measures and a consumer’s guide to filing complaints.
FCC Extends MVPD EEO Form 396-C Filling Deadline to October 16, 2017
September 26, 2017 On September 14, 2017, the Media Bureau released a Public Notice extending the deadline by which multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”), including cable operators, must electronically file Form 396-C, the FCC’s MVPD Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) Program Annual Report. Typically due by September 30th of each year, the deadline for submission was extended this year to October 16, 2017 due to technical difficulties. To file Form 396-C, login to the Media Bureau’s CDBS Electronic Filing System .
FINAL FILING REMINDER: Copyright Forms and Fees Due by August 29, 2017
August 29, 2017 Cable operators must file with the U.S. Copyright Office their Statement of Accounts (Form SA1-2 or SA3) and pay any royalty fees due for the January 2017 – June 2017 accounting period by August 29, 2017.