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Sunday, November 28, 2010

FCC smackdown

I just read the Argos Public Library decision, and two things jumped out at me:
  1. It's short. Brusque, even. Usually, these orders start with a one-paragraph summary, then a couple of paragraphs of background (including applicable rules), then a few paragraphs of discussion (which describes the decision and how the rules apply to the cases). Then a paragraph that starts with "ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED" containing the legal mumbo-jumbo (maybe followed by one or more "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED" paragraphs). This order has only one paragraph of discussion, which is really the meat of any order. Even the footnotes, often the source of interesting peeks into FCC thinking, are meaningless.
  2. It's not applicant-friendly. It only granted 20 appeals, and denied 32. I noted that the days of the FCC waiving everything in sight ended early in 2009. But this order makes it clear that the party is definitely over. Once upon a time, you could file a Form 471 four months late without any good reason, and get a waiver. For this order, the rule of thumb seems to be: we'll forgive a 471 filed within 14 days of the window, or 30 days if some emergency occurred.
Unlike the warm waives of the old Bishop Perry days, this order is like a splash of cold water.

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