‘Unnecessary’ FCC Broadcast Technical Rules Erased

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They had been scheduled for debate and discussion at Tuesday’s FCC July Open Meeting.


On Monday afternoon, two items were deleted from the agenda originally shared with the public on July 6. One deals with steps to combat contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities. The other eliminates and/or amends “outmoded or unnecessary broadcast technical rules.”

The latter item is MB Docket No. 21-263, Updating Broadcast Radio Technical Rules.

The deletion of this item from the agenda means the Commission unanimously believes it should move forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining how it would erase or make changes to broadcast technical rules — another “modernization” effort that commenced during the Pai Commission.

The Media Bureau opened the docket on June 22. Specifically, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes to update regulations “to better reflect current technical requirements and eliminate redundant, outdated, or conflicting provisions for broadcast radio stations.”

This, the Commission argues, will ensure that its rules are accurate, “reducing any potential confusion and alleviating unnecessary burdens.”

What does this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking do? It proposes to do the following:

1. Eliminate the maximum rated transmitter power limit rule for AM stations set out in section 73.1665(b);
2. Update the NCE FM community of license coverage requirement set out in sections
73.316(c)(2)(ix)(B) and 73.1690(c)(8)(i) to match that used in section 73.515;
3. Eliminate the requirement that applicants demonstrate the effect of any FM applicant transmitting antenna on nearby FM or TV broadcast antennas set out in section 73.316(d);
4. Update the signal strength contour overlap requirements for NCE FM Class D stations set out in section 73.509(b) to harmonize with the contour overlap requirements for all other NCE FM stations, set out in section 73.509(a);
5. Eliminate the requirement for broadcast services to protect grandfathered common carrier services in Alaska operating in the 76-100 MHz frequency band set out in sections 73.501(b), 74.1202(b)(3), the second sentence of 74.702(a)(1), and the second sentence of 74.786(b) given that there are no longer such common carrier services;
6. Amend the definition of an “AM fill-in area” set out in section 74.1201(j) to conform to section 74.1201(g);
7. Amend the allocation and power limitations for broadcast stations within 320 kilometers of the Mexican and Canadian borders, set out in sections 73.207(b) and 74.1235(d), to comply with current treaty provisions.

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