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An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes

The following is from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to ABA’s Larry Wilkins. To subscribe to the newsletter, email lwilkins@al-ba.com .

RADIO ONLINE PUBLIC FILES

March 1st is the deadline for radio stations to have their public files posted on the FCC hosted web site. I know we sound like a broken record, but checking the web site, there are not very many that have posted their files yet. Remember February only has 28 days this year….so March 1st will be here soon. If you haven’t gone to the site yet, we encourage you do it today. The URL is publicfiles.fcc.gov. For a complete tutorial on how to log in and upload your files watch the ABA video here

GOOD NEWS OUT OF WASHINGTON

With all the activities that television stations are saddled with surrounding the re-pack and ATSC 3.0 the FCC has issued some good news. Since everyone including the Commission recognized that the funds that were allocated for the repack was way short of the real world cost the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a bill that plugs holes in the original legislation authorizing the incentive auction and relocation of about 1,000 U.S. full-power and Class A TV stations.

It also establishes a Translator and Low Power Station Relocation Fund, sets up the FM Broadcast Station Relocation Fund and creates a Broadcast Station Relocation Consumer Education Fund.

STATIONS GETTING READY FOR ATSC 3.0

As television stations start making plans for ATSC 3.0 they need to formulate an educational plan for both consumers and retailers. While visiting a big box store the other day I mentioned ATSC 3.0. The salesperson said they were all ready for it with plenty of sets in stock. I commented “oh really”? They said see all these sets on the floor has 4k and HDR. I calmly said something about the type of tuner….to which I got the “deer in the headlight” look.

REVIEWING THE REQUIRED EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS

Stations are reminded that FCC rules part 73.1590 requires that licensee of each AM, FM, TV and Class A TV station, except licensees of Class D non-commercial educational FM stations authorized to operate with 10 watts or less output power, must make equipment performance measurements for each main transmitter upon initial installation of a new or replacement main transmitter; upon modification of an existing transmitter made under the provisions of 73.1690 and most importantly annually, for AM stations, with not more than 14 months between measurements.

The data required, together with a description of the equipment and procedure used in making the measurements, signed and dated by the qualified person(s) making the measurements, must be kept on file at the transmitter or remote control point for a period of 2 years, and on request must be made available during that time to duly authorized representatives of the FCC.

This is especially important for AM stations that must conduct the measurements annually and keep the last two reports on file. 

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More States Insist on Net Neutrality

Do Hawaii and New Jersey have the right to do so?

WASHINGTON — Hawaii and New Jersey are the latest states to decree that all state agencies should only do business with internet service providers agreeing to follow net neutrality principles, joining Montana and New York. Hawaii, New Jersey and New York are among the 23 states where the attorneys general are suing the FCC for repealing net neutrality rules put in place in 2015.

One important question is like the 800 lb gorilla in the room though: do states have the right to create their own Internet policy? Markham Erickson, the telecom attorney representing Incompas , the industry association for competitive communications carriers, said the FCC may have “backed itself into a corner on the states’ rights issue,” according to lightreading.com . While the FCC said individual states couldn’t override federal policy, it also renounced its own authority to impose net neutrality provisions, which would appear to leave the door open for states to impose them if they so choose.

In Congress, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has introduced a bill banning blocking and throttling of Internet traffic, but leaving in place the possibility for paid prioritization, and maintaining the categorization of ISPs as Title 1 information service providers, which are regulated by the FTC rather than the FCC. Blackburn also calls for continued limitations on the FCC to preempt state net neutrality laws, according to the same article. Representative Mike Coffman (R-Co.) says he will introduce a net neutrality bill that would go further than Blackburn’s proposal: Coffman wants to ensure blocking, throttling and paid prioritization are all illegal, and he wants to create a compromise in how ISPs are regulated that would keep them under FCC oversight, but not subject them to Title II governance.

The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Act” will likely get published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks, after which there will be a 60-day period before the order goes into effect. Any lawsuits are likely to take one to two years before they’re granted a decision by a federal court, and the party which disagrees with the outcome will likely take the issue to the Supreme Court. 

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