FCC Approves MVPD Email Notifications

Latest in chairman Pai's regulatory underbrush bushwacking initiative
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The FCC has voted to approve an order that allows MVPDs to transition some of their paper notifications to electronic delivery, or as the FCC put it, to update notification rules for the digital age.

Currently, when cable and satellite operators begin service in a market or delete or reposition a broadcast station they must inform the broadcaster by mail, certified mail or hand delivery. With the unanimous vote by the commission Thursday (Jan. 30), they can now do it by email--as of July 31, 2020.

The FCC said it would reduce costs and environmental waste while speeding notices. It was also a bit of turnabout as fair play. The FCC proposed the change back in July, at the same meeting that they voted an order that allows TV stations to notify MVPDs of their carriage-election changes by email rather than a tree-killing certified mail requirement.

Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said the item was just "simple common sense," as, he joked, the FCC was dragged itself into the mid-1990s, the heyday of email. But he said each media modernization item "moves the needle in the right direction."

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called the item a "thoughtful update." But she also said that not all the FCC's media modernization choices had been good ones, including the elimination of the main studio rule, which she took some time in criticizing for giving companies a green light to cut staffers while continuing to maintain they are local.

“ACA Connects applauds the FCC for adopting a Report and Order that will allow cable operators to send required notices to broadcasters by email rather than certified mail," said association president Matt Polka. "This transition to email delivery will reduce administrative burdens and environmental waste while ensuring that notices are still timely received. Today’s action is the latest in a series of FCC efforts to streamline and modernize its media regulations, and we look forward to working with the FCC on further reforms.”