When crossing a street in Washington DC during the month of August, it is common to experience the literally sinking sensation that you are about to be engulfed in a steaming tarry pit. That’s one reason much of the city escapes to more congenial locales. The FCC will grease the wheels for its own employees with leave to spend by getting the August Open Meeting relatively early in the month and by keeping the agenda on the slim – and broadcast-free – side.
The meeting will be held on the second Tuesday of the month, August 9, at 10:30 AM. Although there are four items on the agenda, three of them are related, all pertaining to consideration of the rules regulating foreign ownership of wireless phone companies. The other involves wireless backhaul and the encouragement of broadband deployment.
The FCC released specifics on the agenda:
* Unleashing Spectrum for Wireless Backhaul to Promote Broadband Deployment Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: As part of its Broadband Acceleration Initiative, the Commission will consider a Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order addressing several proposals to remove regulatory barriers to the full and effective use of certain spectrum bands for wireless backhaul to promote broadband deployment. The item also addresses other ways to make additional spectrum available for wireless backhaul.
* Foreign Ownership Review Streamlining NPRM: As part of the Commission’s regulatory reform efforts, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reduce regulatory burdens and streamline the review process for foreign ownership of common carrier radio licensees (e.g., wireless phone companies) and certain aeronautical radio licensees under section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act, while ensuring the Commission continues to receive the information it needs to serve the public interest. This item does not address issues related to foreign ownership of broadcast licensees.
* Foreign Ownership Review Guidelines Clarification Order and Declaratory Ruling: As part of the Commission’s efforts to provide greater clarity regarding foreign ownership review standards, an Order and Declaratory Ruling regarding the International Bureau’s Foreign Ownership Guidelines and the application of section 310(b)(3) of the Communications Act to certain foreign ownership of common carrier and aeronautical licensees. This item does not address issues related to foreign ownership of broadcast licensees.
* Foreign Ownership Rulings Review Order: As part of the Commission’s efforts to provide greater clarity regarding foreign ownership review procedures, an Order on Reconsideration addressing two section 310(b)(4) foreign ownership rulings granted to Verizon Wireless in two proceedings approving its acquisitions of Rural Cellular Corporation (RCC) and Alltel Corporation (Alltel). This item does not address issues related to foreign ownership of broadcast licensees.