Chairman Pai’s Spring Break Media Modernization Move


The FCC will hold its April Open Meeting on April 17 at 10:30am, and Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday offered a sneak peek at what’s on the agenda.

In a blog post, he revealed that the Commission will be voting on a targeted proposal to prohibit the use of Universal Service Fund (USF) dollars to purchase equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat to the integrity of U.S. communications networks or the communications supply chain.

Two matters connected to the FCC’s ongoing Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative are of the most importance to broadcast media.

First, the Commissioners will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to eliminate the requirement that cable operators maintain at their local offices a current listing of the cable television channels that each cable system delivers to its subscribers.

Yes, it’s an FCC requirement. Even Chairman Pai is a bit astounded at this regulation.

“Most people probably aren’t even aware of this, but cable companies are required to keep such listings in hard copy thanks to an FCC regulation passed way back in 1972,” he said. “Talk about outdated; channel listings are a quick Internet search away, making absurd the notion of a trip to the company office for the answer.”

Second, the FCC will vote on an order that would relax a requirement that TV stations must report annually to the Commission about the revenue they receive from ancillary and supplemental services.

“Astute observers will note that we teed up this proposal a few months ago,” Pai said. “If adopted, broadcasters without any such revenues would no longer need to file a report with the Commission. Taking this step would eliminate unnecessary paperwork and is simple common sense; that might explain why the record reveals no opposition at all to this proposal.”

The blog post noted that there is “no Spring Break for the FCC.” Pai used the blog to again inject his unabashed sports allegiances into the everyday activities of the Commission.

Pai wrote, “This week, with a lot of schools adjourning for spring break, I hope that many of you are on vacation (and that you watched justice be served as Kansas beat Duke).  But when you return in April, you’ll find the FCC hard at work during another busy month.”