In response to a letter from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn detailed the early returns after the implementation of the Calm Act, which went into effect near the end of 2012.
As reported earlier, as of 6/5/13 the FCC received almost 16,000 consumer complaints pertaining to the Act. Clyburn noted that the Commission created a special form for consumers to use after the effective date, which was 12/13/13. It received 4,777 complaints in December and 4,405 in January, and since complaints have tapered off.
Of the total, about two thirds were referred to the Enforcement Bureau for analysis or action; the other third were incomplete and their senders were informed of that fact and given instructions to refile.
Asked if any patterns have been discovered, Clyburn noted that determining the existence of any patterns was one of the RFCC’s primary goals, that it was a complex process and that it was in progress. They are looking for all sorts of patterns, such as by MVPD or station; by region; by specific commercial; by network/programmer; and others.
There have been 55 complaints pertaining to video-on-demand programming.
Finally, Clyburn said that waivers due to financial hardship or for good cause have been granted fairly routinely to small entities that supplied sufficient evidence. To date a total of 170 small stations and MVPDs have received waivers that give them an extra year to come into compliance.