NAB Show attendees liked what they heard from the new FCC chairman today, the introduction next month of an overarching review of the commission's broadcasting, cable and satellite rules. “Broadcasting remains an indispensable part of America’s communications landscape. And under my chairmanship, broadcasting won’t be seen as a speed bump. We’ll want to hear which rules you think should be modified or repealed as part of this review, and why.”
Pai Moves To Overhaul, ‘Modernize’ FCC Regs
In a speech at the NAB Show in Las Vegas today that was interrupted several time by applause and that ended with a standing ovation, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the FCC would undertake a “comprehensive” review of the 1,000 pages of broadcasting, cable and satellite TV rules with the goal of slashing or changing those that are “no longer needed or counterproductive.”
Pai said a draft of the review has been sent to the other commissioners in the expectation that the FCC would vote to order the review at the FCC’s next meeting on May 18.
“The last thing broadcasting — or any industry for that matter — needs is outdated regulations standing in its way,” Pai said.
“And that’s particularly true in communications, where things change so quickly. That’s why I’ll work aggressively to modernize the FCC’s rules, cut unnecessary red tape, and give broadcasters more flexibility to serve their audiences.
“Broadcasting remains an indispensable part of America’s communications landscape. And under my chairmanship, broadcasting won’t be seen as a speed bump.”
“We’ll want to hear which rules you think should be modified or repealed as part of this review, and why. We’ll then study the record to determine whether to propose modifying or eliminating certain regulations. Our goal is simple: to have rules that reflect the world of 2017, not 2007, 1997, 1987 or 1977.”
Pai earned his inter-speech applause not only with the promise of deregulation, but also with pledges to assist in improving broadcast TV and radio and in making sure the repacking of TV band in the wake of the incentive auction goes smoothly.
He said that authorizing ATSC 3.0 was a priority for him. “Our goal is to issue a final authorization of the Next Gen TV standard by the end of the year.
“We’ll move quickly — by FCC standards, anyway — because I want the United States to lead the world in broadcasting, just as in the communications industry generally.”
Pai repeated an earlier promise not to force any station off the air “due to circumstances outside of its control” during the repack, in which nearly 1,000 TV stations will have to move to new channels over the next three years.
“Obviously, we have a lot of work ahead of us. And to get it done right, all of us — the FCC, broadcasters, and wireless carriers — will need to work together closely.”
He noted that last week the FCC assigned regional coordinators to help the nearly 1,000 TV stations that will have to move to new channels in the repack.
“This will help stations collaborate and help resolve issues that arise. The regional coordinators have already reached out to each station in their assigned regions to introduce themselves and begin working together.”
The goodwill shown Pai the audience also reflects broadcasters’ belief that in Pai they have an FCC chairman who respects what they do and would like them to remain a part of the TV ecosystem for a good long while.
Pai said that he is “fundamental optimistic” about broadcasting because of its local ties and its unique news and entertainment programming.
“We will always need shared experiences that connect our communities — whether it’s a show on TV that makes us laugh, a song on the radio that makes us sing along, the wrong winner being announced at an awards show, or a widely-disliked team mounting a dramatic comeback to win the Super Bowl.”
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