John Eggerton

FCC Commissioner O'Rielly Named NY State Broadcasters Association New Yorker of Year

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O'Rielly has been named "New Yorker of the Year" by the New York State Broadcasters Association (NYSBA). O'Rielly, who was born just outside Buffalo (NY), was hailed by the association as "one of the outstanding commissioners in the history of the FCC". “Receiving this award is an incredible honor," Commissioner O'Rielly said.

FCC Takes Some Heat for Changes to Children's TV Rules

The Federal Communications Commission took some heat after it voted to loosen its children's television rules. “Today’s FCC decision sacrifices children’s education and well-being all for corporate profit under the guise of flexibility," said Sen Edward Markey (D-MA), one of the senators behind the Children's TV Act. "Promoting the public good and serving kids should not fall by the wayside for the sake of increased business revenue.

Big Tech Bashed in Senate Hearing On Protecting Kids Online

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing "Protecting Innocence in a Digital World" July 9 on protecting kids online, and Big Tech came in for further criticism over its handling of the issue. Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he hoped to learn a lot from the witnesses about the perils of social media sites, and the internet in general, for children. He also signaled there would be a follow-on hearing where Big Tech was called to account. 

Pai Proposal Resolves USTelecom Forbearance Petition

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a proposal to grant USTelecom what is described as two narrow portions of its request for forbearance from applying some copper-era Telecommunications Act voice service support regulations to an increasingly fiber world. But it does not retire broadband-related obligations after USTelecom withdrew that ask July 1.

Comcast Pushes Shapefile Broadband Mapping Approach

Comcast met with Federal Communications Commission officials the week of June 24 to urge them to adopt NCTA-The Internet & Television Association's proposal to use polygon shapefiles to more accurately map broadband deployment, including where service could be lit up in a matter of days (which Comcast argues should count as served). In their meeting with FCC officials, the Comcast executives made the point that the shapefiles mapping approach would be more granular than census block, saying shapefiles "accurately reflect coverage in partially served census blocks that may not be depicte

House-Passed FCC Appropriations Bill Unwinds Some Pai-Backed Decisions

The House has passed an omnibus appropriations bill, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, and it funds the Federal Communications Commission. But it will almost certainly need major tweaking if Senate Republicans are expected to approve it, partially due to three amendments related to FCC policy.

FCC Investigating Sinclair Over Tribune Deal

In a letter of inquiry sent by the Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau to Sinclair Broadcast Group General Counsel David Gibber, the FCC asks for documents releated to Sinclair's  aborted effort to buy Tribune TV stations and whether Sinclair mislead the FCC about who would actually be controlling the stations it was spinning off as part of the deal. The FCC is investigating "whether, in light of the issues presented in the HDO, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

Supremes' FCC Case Remand Could Weaken Commission's Defense of Decisions

The Supreme Court vacated a lower court decision on the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, in the process raising questions about the FCC's ability to enforce other regulations, depending on how they are crafted and what court is reviewing them. At issue is how much leeway the courts and regulated entities have to challenge FCC interpretations and definitions in its decisions, which are regularly challenged in courts. One law firm called it a potentially "landmark" ruling.

House Approves Full Funding-Plus for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The House has approved funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the independent agency that dispenses federal funding for noncommercial media. The $495 million in funding, which was not only full funding but an additional $50 million, is for 2022. CPB is forward funded in an attempt to depoliticize the process. President Donald Trump has proposed phasing out the federal government's contribution of about 15% of CPB's annual budgets, but lawmakers from both parties have signaled that is not happening.

FCC "Soft" Launches National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier in Another 11 States

The Federal Communications Commission is "soft" launching its national Lifeline eligibility verifier in another 11 states on June 25: Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in those states who are eligible for the Lifeline subsidies will not be able to begin any subscriber recertifications after June 25 and should wrap up any current certifications under the existing rules by Aug 30.