In a Report and Order released Tuesday, February 20, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated certain rules requiring cable operators and broadcasters to maintain paper copies of FCC rules, recognizing that these rules are readily available online. Specifically the Order does away with the following paper recordkeeping requirements:

  • The requirement that cable systems serving 1,000 or more subscribers maintain a current copy of Part 76 of the Commission’s rules and, if subject to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules contained in Part 11, a copy of the FCC issued EAS Operating Handbook. (Systems with fewer than 1,000 subscribers were already exempt.) Notably, the rule change does not eliminate the separate requirement in Section 11.15 that a copy of the handbook “be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately available to staff responsible for authenticating messages and initiating actions.” (47 C.F.R. §76.1714(a))
  • The requirement that licensees or permittees of low power TV, TV translators, and TV booster stations maintain “a current copy of Volume I and Volume III of the Commission’s rules,” and the similar requirement applicable to licensees and permitees of FM translators and booster stations. (47 C.F.R. §§74.769 and 74.1269)
  • The requirements that CARS licensees maintain a current copy of Part 78 of the Commission’s rules and, in cases where aeronautical obstruction markings of antennas are required, a current copy of Part 17. (47 C.F.R. §§76.1714(c) and 78.67)

The rule changes are not subject to OMB approval and become effective upon publication in the Federal Register.