[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 146 (Tuesday, August 1, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 35658]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-16075]



[[Page 35658]]

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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 76

[MB Docket No. 16-126; FCC 17-73]


Declaratory Ruling That Cable Operators May Provide Notice by 
Email

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule; declaratory ruling.

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SUMMARY: In this Declaratory Ruling, the Commission clarifies that 
cable operators may provide required written information to subscribers 
by email to a verified email address and must include a telephone 
number for subscribers to opt out of email notification at any time and 
choose to continue to receive paper copies of the notices.

DATES: Applicable August 1, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katie Costello of the Policy Division, 
Media Bureau at (202) 418-2233 or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Declaratory Ruling, 
dated June 16, 2017, released June 21, 2017, FCC 17-73, MB Docket No. 
16-126. The full text of the Declaratory ruling is available for public 
inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC 
Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street 
SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be 
available via ECFS at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Documents will be 
available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe 
Acrobat. The complete text may be purchased from the Commission's copy 
contractor, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. 
Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities 
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an 
email to [email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 
(TTY).

Synopsis

    The Commission issued a Declaratory Ruling, FCC 17-73, on June 21, 
2017 that clarifies that cable operators may provide the written 
notices required by 47 CFR 76.1602(b) via email to a verified email 
address and must include a telephone number for customers to opt out of 
email notification at any time and choose to receive paper copies of 
the notices. The Commission's rule, 47 CFR 76.1602(b), requires cable 
operators to provide their subscribers with written information that 
includes the types of products and services offered, the prices for 
each service, and installation and service maintenance policies. The 
National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the American Cable 
Association filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling with the Commission 
requesting that the Commission clarify that the notices may be 
delivered to customers via email. The Media Bureau published a Public 
Notice seeking comment on the Petition in the Federal Register, 81 FR 
24050-01 (April 25, 2016). Permitting cable operators to comply with 
section 76.1602(b) by delivering the required information via email 
falls squarely within the language of the rule. It is reasonable to 
interpret the term ``written information'' in section 76.1602(b) to 
include information delivered by email. The benefits of permitting 
email delivery include the positive environmental aspects of saving 
substantial amounts of paper annually, increased efficiency and 
enabling customers to more readily access accurate information 
regarding their service options. This clarification is consistent with 
other Commission actions permitting electronic records in lieu of paper 
records.
    Electronic delivery of notices will ease the regulatory burden for 
all cable operators, including small cable operators. In this 
Declaratory Ruling, a verified email address is defined as (1) an email 
address that the customer has provided to the cable operator (and not 
vice versa) for purposes of receiving communication, (2) an email 
address that the customer regularly uses to communicate with the cable 
operator, or (3) an email address that has been confirmed by the 
customer as an appropriate vehicle for the delivery of notices. Use of 
a verified email address will ensure that the notices have a high 
probability of being successfully delivered electronically to an email 
address that the customer uses, so that the written information is 
actually provided to the customer. If no verified email contact 
information is available for a customer, cable operators must continue 
to deliver the notices by paper copies. Customers must ``be informed 
that they may request and receive a paper version of their section 
76.1602(b) notices'' instead of email delivery. This option will afford 
customers the opportunity to opt out of email notification at any time 
and choose to continue to receive paper copies of the notices. Cable 
operators must include an opt-out telephone number that is clearly and 
prominently presented to customers in the body of the originating email 
that delivers the notices, so that it is readily identifiable as an 
opt-out option. For the reasons stated above, it is ordered, pursuant 
to section 632 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 
552, and sections 1.2 and 76.1602 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 
1.2, 76.1602, that the Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by the 
National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the American Cable 
Association is granted to the extent indicated herein and is otherwise 
denied. It is further ordered that this Declaratory Ruling shall be 
effective upon the date specified in a notice published in the Federal 
Register announcing Office of Management and Budget approval of the 
information collection requirements pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction 
Act. The Office of Management and Budget approved this non-substantive 
change to the information collection for 47 CFR 76.1602(b) on July 20, 
2017.


Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2017-16075 Filed 7-31-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P