FCC Announces That the Applications Proposing The Transfer Of Control Of The Licenses And Authorizations Held By Time Warner Cable And Its Subsidiaries To Comcast Corporation Have Been Filed
On April 8, 2014, Comcast and Time Warner Cable filed applications seeking Federal Communications Commission approval to transfer of control of the licenses and authorizations held by Time Warner Cable and its wholly-owned and controlled subsidiaries to Comcast.
We note that the applications have not yet been accepted for filing. When they are, we will issue a separate public notice announcing that fact and setting forth a pleading schedule.
Public Safety And Homeland Security Bureau Provides Guidance To 700 MHz Narrowband State Licensees Regarding Interim Substantial Service Benchmark Showing Due On June 13, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau provides guidance to licensees of state channels in the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum (769-775/799-805 MHz), regarding their upcoming interim substantial service benchmark showing.
These licensees must demonstrate by June 13, 2014 that they are providing or prepared to provide “substantial service” to one- third of their population or territory. The Commission has designated ninety-six channel pairs (12.5 kHz bandwidth) in the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum for use by states, the District of Columbia, and US territories (State Licensees). Each State Licensee receives a geographic area license (State License) covering the geopolitical boundaries of its jurisdiction.
The Commission established a five-year interim benchmark and a ten-year final benchmark for State Licensees to establish specified levels of substantial service within their statewide license areas. The due date for the five-year interim benchmark showing is June 13, 2014. By this date, State Licensees must certify that they are providing or are prepared to provide “substantial service” to one- third of their population or territory.
“Substantial service” is defined as the construction and operation of facilities on state channels which is “sound, favorable, and substantially above a level of mediocre service which just might minimally warrant renewal.” A State Licensee is deemed “prepared” to provide substantial service if it certifies that a radio system has been approved and funded by the deadline date.
The Federal Communication Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau announces the results of the urban rate survey for fixed voice services, which will be used to determine the 2014 rate floor for incumbent eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) and the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services.
The FCC also seeks comment on a petition to extend the deadline for compliance with the 2014 rate floor. Based on the survey results, the Bureau has calculated that the average local end-user rates plus state regulated fees of the surveyed incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in urban areas is $20.46. Based on the survey responses, the Bureau also calculated the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services to be $46.96.
Federal Communications Commission Seeks Comment On Widelity Report And Catalog Of Potential Expenses And Estimated Costs
The Spectrum Act establishes a $1.75 billion TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund to be used for reimbursement of eligible relocation costs. In the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction notice of public rulemaking, the Commission sought comment on the types of costs broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are likely to incur and how to determine whether such costs are “reasonable” for purposes of reimbursement under the statute.
Comments in response to the NPRM suggested that the Commission establish cost estimates for categories of reimbursable expenses. The Commission engaged Widelity to aid the Commission in understanding the process and costs associated with the post-incentive auction transition. Widelity has produced a report, “Response to the Federal Communications Commission for the Broadcaster Transition Study Solicitation” along with a “Catalog of Potential Expenses and Estimated Costs” (Appendix B to the Report).
The Widelity Report recognizes that the post-auction repacking process will be complex and that the complexity will vary from station to station. Nevertheless, the Report concludes that, despite the significant challenges that the industry will face, “[w]ith cooperation as well as patience, creative problem solving, and guidance from the FCC and industry groups such as the National Association of Broadcasters, Association of Public Television Stations, and state broadcast associations, the transition can be achieved with the desired outcomes.”
We seek additional input from interested parties on the report and particularly on the Catalog of Potential Expenses and Estimated Costs. We now seek additional comment from industry participants on these suggested prices, as well as any comments on the report and any further comments on the categories of costs included. A final Catalog of Eligible Expenses and Estimated Costs will be released prior to the auction, and we believe the Catalog will provide useful guidance to broadcasters and MVPDs as they navigate the post-auction transition.
The Federal Communication Commission Wireline Competition Bureau authorizes $16,713,875 in additional Phase I second round incremental support in response to the modified elections of two carriers, AT&T and Windstream Communications.
The Bureau authorizes $5,248,300 in additional Phase I incremental support for AT&T in exchange for AT&T’s commitment to deploy broadband-capable infrastructure to 6,772 additional locations. The Bureau also authorizes $11,465,575 in additional Phase I incremental support for Windstream in exchange for Windstream’s commitment to deploy to an additional 13,273 locations.
The Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announces a workshop on “Public Safety Imperatives for All-IP Networks.”
The half-day workshop will be held on April 17 and April 18, 2014. The workshop will bring together representatives from public safety agencies and organizations, service providers, technology vendors, and other stakeholders to explore the impact of the technology transition on key public safety, emergency response, and national security functions. The workshop will seek to identify the conditions, rebuttable presumptions, and relevant factors that are needed to ensure that core public safety values are supported in the transition to an all IP-based infrastructure.
The workshop will be comprised of four sessions that will focus on current public safety, emergency response and national security dependencies on legacy switched telecommunications infrastructure and challenges in four categories: (1) day-to- day public safety operations in an all-IP world; (2) disaster preparation and responses in an all-IP world; (3) additional risk factors from cyber exploits on commercial, public and government networks; and (4) the impact of technology transitions on national security and federal government systems. Participants will share their real world expertise and contribute their individual views and analysis as to how an all-IP-based infrastructure can support a range of public safety mission requirements. Participants will also discuss the public safety criteria that should be applied to the technology transitions.
Processing Of Broadcast Television Applications Proposing Sharing Arrangements And Contingent Interests
In recent months, the Federal Communications Commission’s Media Bureau has reviewed an increasing number of proposed broadcast television transactions involving both agreements to share facilities, employees, and/or services of various types between stations and financing and/or contingent interest agreements involving those stations.
These arrangements have drawn substantial public scrutiny.
The FCC is issuing a public notice to provide guidance concerning the Bureau’s processing of applications seeking FCC approval of proposed transactions that involve combinations of sharing arrangements and contingent or financial interests. In the ongoing review of proposed transactions involving sharing arrangements, the FCC has identified a concern that a broadcaster that has entered into a sharing arrangement with another same- market station in which it also has a contingent financial interest, such as an option to purchase the station or as a guarantor of the other station’s financing, may obtain a degree of operational and financial influence that deprives the licensee of the second station of its economic incentive to control programming.
Also, the compensation provisions of agreements to share facilities and employees, to jointly sell advertising, and to jointly acquire programming, can be structured such that the licensee of the station bears little or none of the risks and reaps little or none of the rewards for the performance of the station. While each case must be judged on its individual facts, the FCC has determined that proposed combinations of such sharing arrangements and contingent financial interests warrant careful scrutiny in our review of applications.
In separate statements, the FCC’s two Republican commissioners -- Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly -- said they opposed the bureau’s notice, at least partly on procedural grounds.
FCC Seeks Nominations For Tribal Government Representatives To Serve On The FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force
The Federal Communications Commission has long recognized that it shares a unique trust relationship with Tribal Nations.
It is this unique government-to-government relationship that guides the FCC in its dealings with Tribal Nations and in the Commission’s efforts to promote Tribal self-sufficiency and economic development. As part of these endeavors and its efforts to ensure that the concerns of Tribal governments are considered in all relevant Commission proceedings, the Commission created the FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force.
Now, the Commission, through the Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP), is acting to reinvigorate the Task Force to ensure that it continues its vital work. Specifically, by this Public Notice, ONAP seeks applications for open positions on the Task Force. Applications are due by May 15, 2014.