As the partial government shutdown entered its third week with no agreement to fund the federal government in sight, the FCC was forced to suspend the majority of its operations at midday on Thursday, January 3 after reserve funding from the previous fiscal year was depleted.
With few exceptions, and until normal agency operations resume, the FCC has suspended all electronic filing and application processing services including: (1) processing of applications for broadcast, wireless, wireline and other licensing services, (2) processing of applications requesting FCC consent to mergers and acquisitions of companies that hold or control broadcast, wireless wireline and other FCC licenses and authorizations, (3) consumer protection and local competition enforcement, (4) equipment authorizations, (5) rulemaking activities, (6) radio spectrum management, and (7) action on consumer complaints. The FCC will, however, continue to perform work related to the ongoing auction of wireless broadband licenses in the 28 GHz band and other spectrum activities authorized by Section 309(j) of the 1934 Communications Act. As such, the FCC will keep its filing window and mail operations open to receive filings related to authorized auction activities. The agency will also accept and act on emergency requests for special temporary authorization (STA) and other filings deemed necessary for the protection of life and property. Such filings will be accepted through the FCC’s Operations Center while the Commission’s electronic dockets and other online filing resources are unavailable.
Filing deadlines for comments relating to FCC rulemaking proceedings, responsive pleadings relating to license and merger applications, STAs that are due to expire during the suspension of FCC operations and other documents due to be filed with the FCC during the shutdown will be extended until the second business day after the FCC resumes normal operations. However, the FCC will not extend deadlines for the payment of regulatory and application fees, civil monetary penalties, installment payments and other debts that are due during the shutdown. These payments must be submitted on a timely basis through US Bank.
Although the FCC’s online filing functions have been suspended, many of the FCC’s online database systems will remain accessible to the public for research related purposes but will not be updated during the shutdown. Online databases which remain open for public access include the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), the Public Safety Support Center (PSSC), the Licensing Management System (LMS), the Consolidated Database System (CDBS), the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), the Universal Licensing System (ULS), the Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS), the Auctions Public Reporting System (PRS), the Auction Application System, the Auction Bidding System, the Daily Digest, and the Commission Online Registration System (CORES).