[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 197 (Friday, October 13, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47683-47686]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22183]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 74, 76, 78

[MB Docket No. 17-231; FCC 17-121]


Amendment of the Commission's Rules Regarding Maintenance of 
Copies of FCC Rules

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) proposes to eliminate rules that require certain broadcast 
and cable entities to maintain paper copies of Commission regulations.

DATES: Comments are due on or before November 13, 2017; reply comments 
are due on or before November 27, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No. 17-231, 
by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, 
by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable 
accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: (202) 418-
0530 or TTY: (202) 418-0432.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information on this 
proceeding, contact Raelynn Remy of the Policy Division, Media Bureau 
at [email protected], or (202) 418-2120.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 17-121, adopted and released on September 
26, 2017. The full text 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 
https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/0926156892954/FCC-17-121A1.pdf. 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

    1. We propose to eliminate the requirement, set forth in section 
74.769 of our rules, that licensees or permittees of low power TV, TV 
translator, and TV booster stations maintain ``a current copy of Volume 
I and Volume III of the Commission's rules.'' \1\ In addition, we 
propose to eliminate a similar requirement, codified in section 74.1269 
of our rules, that licensees or permittees of FM translator and FM 
booster stations maintain ``a current copy of Volumes I (parts 0, 1, 2 
and 17) and III (parts 73 and 74) of the Commission's rules.'' \2\ The 
Commission adopted these requirements more than forty years ago as part 
of its regulation of then recently established broadcast translator 
services.\3\ As NAB asserts, such obligations no longer appear 
necessary given the immediate availability of Commission rules 
online.\4\ NAB maintains that ``[b]roadcasters can easily access and 
review the rules online, and download and print copies of any rules as 
needed.'' \5\ We agree with NAB and tentatively conclude that the 
requirement to maintain paper copies of rules, which the publisher of 
the CFR updates annually, no longer remains necessary. We seek comment 
on this tentative conclusion.
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    \1\ 47 CFR 74.769.
    \2\ 47 CFR 74.1269.
    \3\ Amendment of Part 74 and Other Parts of the Commission's 
Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Television Broadcast Translator 
Stations, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC 2d 94, para. 1 
(1971) (proposing to revise and harmonize rules governing FM and 
television translator stations). See also id. at 98, para. 12 
(adopting section 74.769); id. at 101, Appendix, para. 8 (same); 
Amendment of Part 74 of the Commission's Rules and Regulations to 
Permit the Operation of Low Power FM Broadcast Translator and 
Booster Stations, Report and Order, 35 FR 15383, 15388 (1970) 
(adopting section 74.1269).
    \4\ NAB Comments at 23-24.
    \5\ Id. at 24.
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    2. We also tentatively conclude that we should eliminate the 
requirement, set forth in section 76.1714(a), that certain cable 
operators maintain a current copy of part 76 of the Commission's rules 
and, if subject to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules contained in 
part 11 of those rules, an EAS Operating Handbook.\6\ Although we 
recognize the public safety importance of having the EAS Handbook in 
close proximity, we note that section 11.15 requires that a copy of the 
handbook ``be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment 
locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately 
available to staff responsible for authenticating messages and 
initiating actions.'' \7\ Given this separate requirement, we see no 
need for a duplicate EAS requirement in section 76.1714(a). We seek 
comment on this tentative conclusion. In addition, we tentatively 
conclude that we should eliminate from sections 76.1714(c) and 78.67 of 
the Commission's rules the requirement that CARS licensees maintain a 
current copy of part 78 of the Commission's rules and, in cases where 
aeronautical obstruction markings of antennas are required, part 17 of 
such rules.\8\ The Commission adopted these requirements decades ago 
when it established a comprehensive regulatory framework to govern 
then-nascent cable television service.\9\ Like the rules applicable to 
broadcasters discussed above, we believe these rules have outlived 
their usefulness and no longer serve the public interest because, as 
ACA notes, the Commission's rules are available online in the 
electronic CFR.\10\ Thus, we tentatively conclude that these 
obligations are no longer necessary. We seek comment on this tentative 
conclusion.
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    \6\ 47 CFR 76.1714(a). The requirements of section 76.1714(a) do 
not apply to any cable television system serving fewer than 1000 
subscribers. 47 CFR 76.1714(b).
    \7\ 47 CFR 11.15.
    \8\ 47 CFR 76.1714(c), 78.67.
    \9\ Amendment of Part 74, Subpart K, of the Commission's Rules 
and Regulations Relative to Community Antenna Television Systems, 
Cable Television Report and Order, 36 FCC 2d 141, 242, Appendix A 
(1972) (adopting a requirement that cable television system 
operators maintain a copy of Part 76 of the Commission's rules). See 
also id. at 257, Appendix A (adopting section 78.67 of the 
Commission's rules).
    \10\ ACA Comments at 12.
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    3. Parties opposing elimination of any rules discussed in this NPRM 
should explain how the benefits derived from

[[Page 47684]]

such rules, if any, outweigh the costs.\11\ We note that no party in 
the media modernization proceeding has asserted that any of these rules 
should be retained.
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    \11\ We are not proposing to eliminate the provisions in 
sections 74.769, 74.1269, 76.1714, and 78.67 that obligate the 
subject broadcast and cable entities to be familiar with the rules 
governing their respective operations.
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Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    4. This document does not contain proposed new or revised 
information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501 through 3520). In 
addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified 
``information burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 
employees'' pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 
2002, Public Law 107-198, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

Ex Parte Rules

    5. Permit-But-Disclose. This proceeding shall be treated as a 
``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's 
ex parte rules.\12\ Persons making ex parte presentations must file a 
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral 
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a 
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons 
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda 
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or 
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte 
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and 
arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted 
in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already 
reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other 
filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such 
data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other 
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where 
such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the 
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex 
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must 
be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 
rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of 
electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda 
summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, 
must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available 
for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., 
.doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding 
should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.
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    \12\ 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq.
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Filing Requirements

    6. Comments and Replies. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of 
the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may 
file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on 
the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the 
Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Electronic Filing 
of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket 
or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
     Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by 
commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    7. Availability of Documents. Comments, reply comments, and ex 
parte submissions will be available for public inspection during 
regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal 
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 
20554. These documents will also be available via ECFS. Documents will 
be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe 
Acrobat.
    8. People with Disabilities. To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the FCC's 
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), 
(202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Additional Information

    9. For additional information on this proceeding, contact Raelynn 
Remy of the Policy Division, Media Bureau, at [email protected], or 
(202) 418-2120.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    10. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA) \13\ the Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Act Analysis (IRFA) concerning the possible significant 
economic impact on small entities by the rules proposed in this Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Written public comments are requested on 
this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and 
must be filed by the deadlines for comments provided on the first page 
of the NPRM. The Commission will send a copy of the NPRM, including 
this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA).\14\ In addition, the NPRM and IRFA (or summaries 
thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.\15\
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    \13\ 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601 through 612, has been 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (SBREFA), Public Law 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
    \14\ 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
    \15\ Id.
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A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    11. The proposed rule changes stem from a Public Notice issued by 
the Commission in May 2017 launching an initiative to modernize the 
Commission's media regulations.\16\ Two parties in the proceeding, the 
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the American Cable 
Association (ACA), have argued for elimination of the recordkeeping 
requirements at issue as outdated and unnecessary. The NPRM proposes to 
eliminate provisions of the Commission's rules that obligate certain 
broadcasters and cable entities to maintain paper copies of Commission 
rules.
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    \16\ Commission Launches Modernization of Media Regulation 
Initiative, MB Docket No. 17-105, Public Notice, FCC 17-58 (MB May 
18, 2017) (initiating a review of rules applicable to media entities 
to eliminate or modify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary or 
unduly burdensome).
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    12. Specifically, the NPRM proposes to eliminate: (i) The 
requirement that licensees or permittees of low power TV, TV 
translator, and TV booster stations maintain a copy of Volume I and 
Volume III of the Commission's rules; \17\ (ii) the requirement that 
licensees or permittees of FM translator

[[Page 47685]]

and FM booster stations maintain a copy of Volumes I (parts 0, 1, 2 and 
17) and III (parts 73 and 74) of the Commission's rules; \18\ (iii) the 
requirement that certain cable operators maintain a copy of part 76 of 
the Commission's rules and, if subject to the Emergency Alert System 
(EAS) rules contained in part 11 of such rules, an EAS Operating 
Handbook; \19\ and (iv) the requirements that cable television relay 
station (CARS) licensees maintain a copy of part 76 of the Commission's 
rules and, in cases where aeronautical obstruction markings of antennas 
are required, part 17 of such rules.\20\ These proposals are intended 
to reduce outdated regulations and unnecessary regulatory burdens that 
can impede competition and innovation in media markets.
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    \17\ 47 CFR 74.769.
    \18\ 47 CFR 74.1269.
    \19\ 47 CFR 76.1714(a).
    \20\ 47 CFR 76.1714(c), 78.67. The NPRM also proposes to make 
conforming changes to sections 74.789, 74.787(a)(5)(viii) and 
76.1700(d) if the Commission eliminates the specified requirements 
in sections 74.769 and 76.1714.
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B. Legal Basis

    13. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 4(i), 
and 4(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 
154(i), and 154(j).

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rules Will Apply

    14. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted.\21\ The RFA generally 
defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the 
terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small 
governmental jurisdiction.'' \22\ In addition, the term ``small 
business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' 
under the Small Business Act.\23\ A small business concern is one 
which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in 
its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria 
established by the SBA.\24\ The rules proposed herein will directly 
affect certain small television and radio broadcast stations, and cable 
entities. Below, we provide a list of such small entities.
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    \21\ 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
    \22\ 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
    \23\ 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition 
of ``small business concern'' in 15 U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to 5 
U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies 
``unless an agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy 
of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for 
public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term 
which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes 
such definition(s) in the Federal Register.'' 5 U.S.C. 601(3).
    \24\ 15 U.S.C. 632. Application of the statutory criteria of 
dominance in its field of operation and independence are sometimes 
difficult to apply in the context of broadcast television. 
Accordingly, the Commission's statistical account of television 
stations may be over-inclusive.

 Television Broadcasting
 Radio Stations
 Cable Companies and Systems
 Cable System Operators
 Cable antenna relay service licensees

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements

    15. Reporting Requirements. The NPRM does not propose to adopt 
reporting requirements.
    16. Recordkeeping Requirements. The NPRM does not propose to adopt 
recordkeeping requirements.
    17. Other Compliance Requirements. The NPRM does not propose to 
adopt other compliance requirements.
    18. Because no commenter provided information specifically 
quantifying the costs and administrative burdens of complying with the 
existing recordkeeping requirements, we cannot precisely estimate the 
impact on small entities of eliminating them. The proposed rule 
revisions, if adopted, will afford all affected Commission regulatees, 
including small entities, greater flexibility in the manner by which 
they access and stay familiar with Commission rules governing their 
services. No party in the proceeding has opposed the proposals set 
forth in the NPRM. We thus find it reasonable to conclude that the 
benefits of eliminating the rules at issue will outweigh any costs.

E. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities and Significant Alternatives Considered

    19. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, 
specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in 
reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four 
alternatives (among others): (1) The establishment of differing 
compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into 
account the resources available to small entities; (2) the 
clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and 
reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the 
use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption 
from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.
    20. The NPRM proposes to eliminate the obligation, imposed on 
certain broadcasters and cable regulatees, to maintain paper copies of 
Commission rules. Eliminating these requirements is intended to 
modernize the Commission's regulations and reduce costs and 
recordkeeping burdens for affected entities, include small entities. 
Whereas under the current rules, affected entities must expend time and 
resources maintaining and updating hard copies of Commission rules, 
such entities will be able to maintain their familiarity with 
Commission rules by accessing those rules online. As noted, the 
proposed rule revisions are unopposed. Thus, we anticipate that 
affected small entities only stand to benefit from such revisions, if 
adopted.

F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule

    21. None.
    22. We adopt this NPRM pursuant to the authority found in sections 
1, 4(i), and 4(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 
U.S.C. 151, 154(i), and 154(j).

Federal Communications Commission.
Katura Jackson,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.

Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR parts 74, 76 and 78 
as follows:

PART 74--EXPERIMENTAL RADIO, AUXILIARY, SPECIAL BROADCAST AND OTHER 
PROGRAM DISTRIBUTIONAL SERVICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 74 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, 307, 309, 310, 336, and 
554.

0
2. Section 74.769 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  74.769  FCC Rules.

    Each licensee or permittee of a station authorized under this 
subpart shall be familiar with rules relating to stations governed by 
this subpart.
0
3. Section 74.787 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(5)(viii) 
introductory text and the table entry for Sec.  74.769 to read as 
follows:


Sec.  74.787  Digital Licensing.

    (a) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (viii) The following sections are applicable to analog-to-digital 
and digital-to-digital replacement television translator stations:

[[Page 47686]]



                        Applicable Rule Sections
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                                * * * * *
Sec.   74.769............................  FCC Rules.
 
                                * * * * *
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* * * * *


Sec.  74.789  [Amended]

0
4. Section 74.789 is amended by removing Sec.  74.769 Copies of Rules 
and adding Sec.  74.769 FCC Rules.
0
5. Section 74.1269 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  74.1269  FCC Rules.

    Each licensee or permittee of a station authorized under this 
subpart shall be familiar with rules relating to stations governed by 
this subpart.

PART 76--MULTICHANNEL VIDEO AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE

0
1. The authority citation for part 76 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 301, 302, 302a, 303, 
303a, 307, 308, 309, 312, 315, 317, 325, 339, 340, 341, 503, 521, 
522, 531, 532, 534, 535, 536, 537, 543, 544, 544a, 545, 548, 549, 
552, 554, 556, 558, 560, 561, 571, 572 and 573.
0
2. Section 76.1700 is amended by revising paragraph (d) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  76.1700  Records to be maintained by cable system operators.

* * * * *
    (d) Exceptions to the public inspection file requirements. The 
operator of every cable television system having fewer than 1,000 
subscribers is exempt from the online public file and from the public 
record requirements contained in Sec.  76.1701 (political file); Sec.  
76.1702 (EEO records available for public inspection); Sec.  76.1703 
(commercial records for children's programming); Sec.  76.1704 (proof-
of-performance test data); Sec.  76.1706 (signal leakage logs and 
repair records); Sec.  76.1714 (FCC rules); and Sec.  76.1715 
(sponsorship identification).
* * * * *
0
3. Section 76.1714 is amended by revising paragraphs (a) and (c) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  6.1714  FCC Rules.

    (a) The operator of a cable television system is expected to be 
familiar with the rules governing cable television systems and, if 
subject to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules contained in part 11 
of this chapter, the EAS.
* * * * *
    (c) Both the licensee of a cable television relay station (CARS) 
and the operator or operators responsible for the proper operation of 
the station are expected to be familiar with the rules governing cable 
television relay stations.

PART 78--CABLE TELEVISION RELAY SERVICE

0
1. The authority citation for part 78 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 152, 153, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309.

0
2. Section 78.67 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  78.67  FCC Rules.

    Both the licensee of a cable television relay station (CARS) and 
the operator or operators responsible for the proper operation of the 
station are expected to be familiar with the rules governing CARS 
stations.

[FR Doc. 2017-22183 Filed 10-12-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P