FCC Eliminates Two Paper Public File Rules
The FCC has adopted a Report and Order to eliminate two public inspection file requirements: (i) the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public in a paper public inspection file; and (ii) the requirement that cable operators maintain for public inspection the designation and location of the cable system’s principal headend.
The Report and Order concludes that the rule, which has been in place since 1973, is no longer necessary. Commissioner O’Rielly mentioned that, by eliminating the obligation to maintain any kind of paper file, commercial broadcasters may instead maintain a solely online public file and thereby realize security benefits by no longer being required to provide public access to their stations.
Until the revised rules become effective, broadcasters should continue to maintain letters and emails from the public in their paper public inspection files.
The Commission also eliminated the rule requiring operators of cable television systems to “maintain for public inspection the designation and location of [the system’s] principal headend.” Eliminating this requirement will permit cable operators to transition to a fully online public file. TheReport and Order will make clear, however, that cable operators must provide principal headend location information to the FCC, broadcasters, and franchisors upon request.
Copies of the FCC’s press release and the written statements from Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly are below.