The FCC also announced that it will establish a web page for tracking pending forbearance petitions.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released a Report and Order adopting new procedural rules for Petitions for Forbearance filed under Section 10 of the Communications Act. These new rules will go into effect 30 days after the Report and Order is published in the Federal Register, and will include the following:
- A requirement that forbearance petitions be "complete as filed," meaning that they must state explicitly the scope of relief requested, address each prong of the forbearance statute as it applies to the rules or provisions in question, identify any other proceedings pending before the FCC on relevant issues and comply with format requirements similar to those for petitions for rulemaking
- An explicit statement that the burden of proof "is on forbearance petitioners at the outset and throughout the proceeding"
- Procedures for filing motions for summary denial of forbearance petitions
- Internal deadlines for commissioners to circulate a draft order and vote on forbearance petitions
- The establishment of a 14-day "quiet period" prior to an FCC vote, which mirrors the "sunshine period" prohibition on ex parte contacts
- Prohibitions against petitioners withdrawing or "significantly narrowing" their petition more than 10 business days after the due date for reply comments without explicit approval from the FCC.
The FCC also announced that it will establish a web page for tracking pending forbearance petitions, including timelines, docket numbers and contact information for each pending petition.