They haven’t even held the July Open Meeting yet, and already we’ve been given a glimpse at the August agenda. Although the July meeting has little to interest broadcasters, in August there is a cable item that will likely touch on one matter of importance.
The meeting is scheduled early in the month, as is common, since most residents who moved to Washington for a federal job do their level best to be somewhere else during the asphalt-melting month. Friday August 3 is the official date.
A technical matter will deal with cable’s transition from analog to digital, and we suspect this item will be the one where cable systems are relieved of the requirement to carry side-by-side analog and digital versions of broadcast television stations, a move that has been protested by broadcasters and public watchdogs. However, it will free up cable bandwidth, and anything that frees up bandwidth is almost a sure bet to garner the support of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and this is no exception.
The only other item involves fixed service spectrum.
Here’s what the FCC had to say about each item:
* Cable Television Technical and Operational Requirements: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to modernize our cable television rules to facilitate the cable industry’s widespread transition from analog to digital transmission systems.
* Removing Barriers to Wireless Backhaul: The Commission will consider a Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Second Notice of Inquiry, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order that seeks to remove regulatory barriers to make better use of Fixed Service (FS) spectrum and provide additional flexibility to enable FS licensees to reduce operational costs and facilitate the use of wireless backhaul in rural areas.