FCC pins down February Open Meeting agenda


The business of interest to broadcasters that is to be handled by the FCC when the five commissioners get together on Thursday 2/11/10 is mostly procedural in nature. And the 10:30AM session will spend time, as usual, on the National Broadband Plan, just about a month before its new 3/17/10 due date.

The first agenda item will concern general FCC procedures, and comes in the wake of a GAO report making recommendations about opening up and streamlining FCC operations. The report was concerned with both internal interactions and interaction with the public and stakeholders. The FCC said the agenda plank will look at a rulemaking to “…enhance the efficiency, openness, and transparency of the Commission’s proceedings by improving and modernizing certain organizational and procedural rules.”

The second agenda item will look at increasing the transparency of the ex parte process. The Commission is seeking ways to make the process more efficient as well.

The final plank concerns schools, libraries and universal service. For broadcasters, it will be an invitation to leave the room for a moment to make a sandwich or some other thing.

RBR-TVBR observation: With the scheduled release of the National Broadband Plan so close to the date of this meeting, it is truly amazing that the FCC is dealing with any topic other than NBP.

We’re particularly interested in new ex parte rules, which may include a requirement to publish a summary of any meeting with commissioners or staff. That could be a bottomless treasure trove of news, to say the least.

We suspect most stakeholders who frequently have business before the Commission will not like such a requirement, but as a member in good standing of the working trade press, we just can’t help but love it, if it happens.