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The Sunshine Period And Next Week's Open Commission Meeting

April 15th, 2010 by Joel Kaufman

Each month, the Commission holds a public meeting to transact business.  Approximately a week before the meeting, the Commission releases a public notice placing designated matters on the meeting agenda.  The so-called “Sunshine Period” begins with a public notice stating that a matter will be considered at a meeting, and lasts until the Commission releases a decision in the matter, deletes the matter from the agenda, or returns the matter to the staff.  Unless an exception applies, oral or written presentations to FCC decision-makers concerning matters listed on a meeting agenda are prohibited during the Sunshine Period.  The purpose of the Sunshine Period is to allow the Commission to finalize its decisions without being interrupted by last minute comments.

The matters on the Commission’s April 21, 2010 open meeting implement portions of the Commission’s recent Broadband Report to Congress.  They include: 

Item No.: 1
Bureau
: Wireline Competition
Title: Connect America Fund; A National Broadband Plan for Our Future (GN Docket No 09-51); and High-Cost Universal Service Support (WC Docket No. 05-337)
Summary: The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking initiating universal service reforms as outlined in the National Broadband Plan and Joint Statement on Broadband.

Item No.: 2
Bureau
: Wireless Tele-Communications
Title: Reexamination of Roaming Obligations of Commercial Mobile Radio Service Providers and Other Providers of Mobile Data Services (WT Docket No. 05-265)
Summary: The Commission will consider an Order on Reconsideration regarding automatic voice roaming requirements and a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding automatic roaming for mobile data services.

Item No.: 3
Bureau: Media 
Title: Video Device Competition; Implementation of Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices (CS Docket No. 97-80); and Compatibility Between Cable Systems and Consumer Electronics Equipment (PP Docket No. 00-67)
Summary: The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on best approaches to assure the commercial availability of smart video devices and other equipment used to access the services of multichannel video programming distributors.

Item No.: 4
Bureau
: Media
Title: Implementation of Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996:   Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices(CS Docket No. 97-80); and Compatibility Between Cable Systems and Consumer Electronics Equipment (PP Docket No. 00-67)
Summary: The Commission will consider a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes changes to the CableCARD rules for set-top boxes used with cable services, to improve the operation of that framework pending the development of a successor framework.

Item No.: 5
Bureau: Public Safety & Homeland Security
Title:  Effects on Broadband Communications Networks Of Damage to or Failure of Network Equipment Or Severe Overload
Summary: The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry that examines the survivability of broadband infrastructure and seeks comment on the ability of existing broadband networks to withstand significant damage or severe overloads as result of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, pandemics or other major public emergencies.

Item No.: 6
Bureau
: Public Safety & Homeland Security
Title: Cyber Security Certification  Program
Summary: The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry on whether to establish a voluntary cyber security certification program.

The Commission's broadband.gov blog hosts discussions on a wide range of broadband related issues -- far more than the items under consideration at the upcoming Commission meeting.  In order to permit discussions unrelated to the open meeting topics to continue, the Commission will not shut down the blog pages during the Sunshine Period.  However, the public is advised that, consistent with the purpose of the Sunshine Period, comments submitted on blog pages in broadband.gov during the Sunshine Period will not be considered by the Commission in finalizing the items under consideration at the meeting on April 21.  We expect to follow a similar policy in future months as various broadband related matters are considered at open meetings of the Commission.

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