On November 12, the FCC released an Order making significant changes to its rules governing the filing of pole attachment complaints brought under Section 224 as well as formal complaints against common carriers brought under Section 208 of the Communications Act. Once effective, the rule changes will require the electronic filing of all such complaints – which previously were required to be filed on paper – via the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The Order’s highlights are as follows:
- Hard copy filings (except those with confidential material) will no longer be accepted. All pleadings, attachments, exhibits and other documents must be filed using ECFS.
- Complainants must remit the filing fee associated with the complaint to the FCC’s designated payment center before filing the complaint.
- A complaint proceeding will be assigned a file number for future electronic filings once the complaint has satisfied initial procedural review by FCC Enforcement Bureau staff.
- Consistent with other Commission rules, if confidential information is submitted during the proceeding, parties must file with the FCC Secretary’s office an unredacted hard copy version containing the confidential material, as well as a redacted public version of the document via ECFS.
- The revised rules become effective 30 days after publication of the Order in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. Effective November 22, 2014, however, parties are permitted, but not required, to file their Section 224 and 208 complaints via ECFS.