Updating Old Policies; Pioneering New Ones

Since becoming Chairman, I’ve spoken often about the importance of reviewing the FCC’s guidelines and processes, and eliminating or even modernizing outdated practices that no longer make sense. There is no better example of an FCC rule that has outlived its usefulness and deserves to be removed than our sports blackout guideline.

In 1975, the particular Commission enacted rules barring cable from airing a game that has been blacked out on the local television station because it was not sold out – strengthening the particular NFL’s blackout policy. Today, the rules make no sense at all.

The sports blackout guidelines are a bad hangover from the days when barely 40 percent of games sold out and gate invoices were the league’s principal way to obtain revenue. Last weekend, every single sport was sold out. More significantly, pro football is now the most popular content on television. NFL games dominated last week’s ratings, and the Super Bowl provides effectively become a national holiday. With the NFL’s incredible popularity, it’s not amazing that last year the League made $10 billion in revenue in support of two games were blacked-out.

Clearly, the NFL no longer needs the government’s help to remain viable. And we at the FCC shouldn’t be complicit in preventing sports activities fans from watching their favorite teams on TV. It’s time to sack the particular sports blackout rule.

That’s why today, I am sending to my fellow commissioners a offer to get rid of the FCC’s blackout guideline once and for all. It fulfills a commitment I actually made in June. We will vote over the proposal at the Commission’s open meeting on September 30.

The sports blackout rule isn’t the only FCC rule in line to have an update at this month’s meeting. I had circulated a rulemaking proposal that could streamline, eliminate and clarify many provisions of the Commission’s Part twenty five rules governing the licensing plus operation of space and world stations providing satellite communications. These types of proposed changes would go a long way in making the regulatory approval procedure for satellite licenses easier and much more efficient.

Many of the plans in this Further Notice derive through recommendations made in the Report upon FCC Process Reform. These suggestions were developed after receiving substantial stakeholder input. These proposed guideline changes would ultimately benefit the United states consumer by increasing the speed plus ease of introducing new satellite providers, while promoting competition among providers.

Among other things, the rulemaking notice would facilitate international coordination of satellite networks and afford licensees more operational flexibility. For instance , proposed revised milestone requirements might simplify space station licensing while ensuring scarce orbital slots are just made available to those entities that are truly prepared to build and operate satellites in them.

This is a important part of the Commission’s process reform work, making things easier for the market by becoming more flexible in our procedures.

Of course , the Commission rate is not just reviewing and updating outdated policies. We are also pioneering new ones.

We keep steady progress toward implementing the particular first-ever incentive auction. Since our own incentive auction Report and Order was adopted in May, FCC personnel has completed work on several substantial proposals for Commission consideration because promised in that item. These plans address critical implementation issues related to the incentive auction and are worth addressing to multiple stakeholders. Two of those items are now tap for the September Open Meeting.

One item proposes changes to our Component 15 rules to allow for more robust unlicensed service and efficient spectral make use of while protecting licensed users through harmful interference. These recommendations meet our objective to extend opportunities with regard to innovative unlicensed use in the 600 MHz band, while preventing dangerous interference to licensed services.

Recognizing that there will be less spectrum in the remaining broadcast music group for wireless microphones after the auction, the other item explores how better to address the needs of wireless mic users over the long term while evolving the Commission’s broader spectrum administration goals.

All of the items on this month’s agenda reflect a commitment to make sure the FCC’s policies are keeping pace with changes in the communications marketplace and maximizing consumer benefits for the future.


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