As advertised: FCC to look at foreign broadcast ownership


FCCAs regular readers of this space know, broadcast matters have not been a primary focus of the FCC since the completion of the DTV transition, and when they were under discussion, the topic was usually squeezing television spectrum to make way for mobile broadband. But broadcast is a key topic this month – plus we’ll meet a new chairman and commissioner.

The November Open Meeting is scheduled for Thursday 11/14/13 and will start at 10:30 AM.

It will be the first meeting under the gavel of Chairman Tom Wheeler, and will also mark the first appearance of new Republican commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

They will join now former Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel on the Democratic side and Ajit Pai on the Republican side.

The key broadcast issue is making it possible for entrepreneurs seeking capital to finance a deal to access foreign backing. The proposal, long advocated by watchdogs, particularly the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, was recently put on the FCC’s table by Clyburn. It is hoped to alleviate the difficulties minorities and small operations have in drumming up financing and proposals would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

From the FCC, here’s what’s on the agenda.

TITLE:  Commission Policies and Procedures Under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act, Foreign Investment of Broadcast Licenses (MB Docket No. 13-50).
SUMMARY:  The Commission will consider a Declaratory Ruling to clarify the agency’s policies and procedures in reviewing broadcast applications for transfer of control, or requests for declaratory ruling that seek greater than 25 percent indirect foreign ownership in broadcast licensees, pursuant to section 310(b(4) of the Communications Act of 1934.

TITLE:  Status of Universal Service Reform Implementation.
SUMMARY:  The Wireline Competition Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Office of Native Affairs and Policy will present an update on universal service reform implementation

TITLE:  Expanding Measuring Broadband America to Mobile.
SUMMARY:  The Commission will hear a presentation on a new FCC Speed Test App for Android smartphones.  This crowdsourcing app will expand the Measuring Broadband America program from fixed to mobile broadband services in order to empower consumers, industry, and policymakers with open, transparent, and accurate information about mobile broadband services across the United States.