Fcc 07-71 Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, D

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Record Keeping, and other

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D. Description of Projected Reporting, Record Keeping, and other

Compliance Requirements for Small Entities
13. The Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on statutory interpretations and proposals to address post-transition obligations of cable operators with respect to carriage of digital broadcast signals pursuant to the must carry requirements in the Communications Act. Small cable operators currently have obligations with respect to carriage of local commercial and non-commercial broadcast stations which vary according to the size of the cable system. As with existing statutory and regulatory requirements, small cable operators will need engineering and legal services to comply with the proposed rules. The Second FNPRM reiterates the Commission’s 2001 decision regarding material degradation and requests comment on requiring cable operators be required to carry all of the primary video and program-related content bits transmitted by the broadcaster and on an alternative proposal to rely on the existing non-discrimination requirement or a new non-discrimination rule to provide a better objective test for material degradation. The 2001 First Report and Order recognized that the material degradation requirements could impact small cable operators disproportionately and made special provision for such situations. This recognition is retained in the proposals set forth in the Second FNPRM. The Second FNPRM also notes that cable operators must make the primary video and any program-related material transmitted by a digital broadcaster electing mandatory carriage viewable by all of their subscribers and proposes to permit cable operators to comply with the “viewability” provisions by either: (1) carrying the signals of commercial and non-commercial must-carry stations in analog format to all analog cable subscribers, or (2) for all-digital systems, carry those signals only in digital format, provided that all subscribers with analog television sets have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content. Small cable operators will need engineering and legal analysis to comply with this proposal. The Second FNPRM seeks comment on the cost of compliance to small cable operators and solicits alternative approaches that would reduce the burden on small cable operators while still complying with statutory requirements. Small broadcast stations will also be affected by the proposed rules and other issues raised in the Second FNPRM, but we do not have any reason to expect that the compliance burden will be any greater than under the existing rules, except that initially, broadcasters may need additional legal services.

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