FCC Moves To Drop 2 Public File Rules

The commission says removing these requirements will allow broadcasters and cable operators to make their entire public inspection file available online and permit them to stop maintaining local public files.

The FCC today proposed to eliminate two public inspection file rules. These rules currently require:

  • Commercial television and radio broadcast stations to retain, and make available to the public, copies of correspondence from viewers and listeners; and
  • Cable operators to maintain and allow public inspection of the location of a cable system’s principal headend.  

The commission adopted online public file rules for broadcast television licensees in 2012, moving television public files that previously were retained at stations’ local main studios to an online, commission-hosted database. TV broadcasters completed their transition to the online file in July 2014.

Modernizing the filing process, the FCC said, made it easier for consumers to access information about their broadcast services without having to travel to the station’s main studio and reduced the cost of broadcaster compliance.

Last January, the commission expanded the move to online filing to cable, radio and satellite operators.

The commission said today’s proposed elimination of these rules “will reduce regulatory burdens on commercial broadcasters and cable operators without adversely affecting the general public.” Removing these requirements also would enable broadcasters and cable operators to make their entire public inspection file available online and permit them to cease maintaining local public files.  

While it appears that the general public does not need access to it, principal headend information must be made available to certain entities, including the FCC and local television stations.

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The NPRM asks for comment on how this information should be collected and made available to entities that need it.


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