[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 120 (Tuesday, June 23, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35854-35858]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15251]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 76

[CS Docket No. 98-120; FCC 15-65]


Carriage of Digital Television Broadcast Signals

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) adopts a 
proposal filed jointly by the American Cable Association and the 
National Association of Broadcasters that modifies and extends the 
exemption from the requirement to carry high definition (``HD'') 
broadcast signals under ``material degradation'' provisions of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (``the Act'') that the 
Commission granted to certain small cable systems in 2012 (``HD 
carriage exemption'').

DATES: Effective July 23, 2015, except for the requirement described in 
paragraph III.4.b of the Supplementary Information. That paragraph 
contains information collection requirements that have not been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Commission 
will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval 
and the effective date of that paragraph.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Raelynn Remy, Raelynn.Remy@fcc.gov, 
Federal Communications Commission, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2936.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Sixth 
Report and Order, CS Docket No. 98-120, FCC 15-65, which was adopted 
and released on June 10, 2015. The full text of this document is 
available for public inspection and copying during regular business 
hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 
445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document 
will also be available via ECFS at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/. 
Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, 
and/or Adobe Acrobat. Alternative formats are available for people with 
disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by 
sending an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or calling the Commission's Consumer 
and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-
0432 (TTY).

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    This document contains new information collection requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. It 
will be submitted to OMB for review under Section 3507(d) of the PRA. 
OMB, the general public, and other Federal agencies are invited to 
comment on the new information collection requirements contained in 
this proceeding. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small 
Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific comment on how the 
Commission might further reduce the information collection

[[Page 35855]]

burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

I. Introduction

    1. In this Sixth Report and Order, we adopt a proposal filed 
jointly by the American Cable Association (``ACA'') and the National 
Association of Broadcasters (``NAB'') \1\ that modifies and extends the 
exemption from the requirement to carry high definition (``HD'') 
broadcast signals under ``material degradation'' provisions of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (``the Act'') \2\ that the 
Commission granted to certain small cable systems in 2012 (``HD 
carriage exemption'').\3\ As discussed below, we find that the joint 
proposal strikes a reasonable balance between the interests of 
broadcast stations in having their HD signals transmitted without 
material degradation and the technical and financial constraints that 
some small cable operators continue to experience. We set forth below a 
brief history of the HD carriage exemption and explain the basis for 
our decision.
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    \1\ See Letter from Ross Lieberman, Senior Vice President of 
Government Affairs, American Cable Association and Erin L. Dozier, 
Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, National 
Association of Broadcasters, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, 
in CS Docket No. 98-120 (filed May 14, 2015) (``Joint Proposal''); 
Letter from Ross Lieberman, Senior Vice President of Government 
Affairs, American Cable Association and Erin L. Dozier, Senior Vice 
President and Deputy General Counsel, National Association of 
Broadcasters, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, in CS Docket No. 
98-120 (filed May 27, 2015) (clarifying two points in the joint 
proposal) (``Joint Clarification'').
    \2\ See 47 U.S.C. 534(b)(4)(A), 535(g)(2) (material degradation 
requirements relating to signals of local commercial and 
noncommercial television stations, respectively).
    \3\ See Carriage of Digital Television Broadcast Signals: 
Amendment to Part 76 of the Commission's Rules, CS Docket No. 98-
120, Fifth Report and Order, 77 FR 36178 (2012) (``Fifth Report and 
Order'').
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II. Background

    2. Sections 614(b)(4)(A) and 615(g)(2) of the Act require that 
cable operators carry signals of commercial and noncommercial broadcast 
television stations, respectively, ``without material degradation.'' In 
the context of the carriage of digital signals, the Commission has 
interpreted this requirement: (i) To prohibit cable operators from 
discriminating in their carriage between broadcast and non-broadcast 
signals; and (ii) to require cable operators to carry HD broadcast 
signals to their viewers in HD. To address concerns expressed by small 
cable operators about cost and technical capacity, the Commission in 
2008 granted a three-year exemption from the HD carriage requirement to 
certain small cable systems. In particular, the Commission applied the 
exemption to small cable systems with 2,500 or fewer subscribers that 
are not affiliated with a cable operator serving more than 10 percent 
of all MVPD subscribers, and those with an activated channel capacity 
of 552 MHz or less. In 2012, the Commission extended the HD carriage 
exemption for those cable systems until June 12, 2015.
    3. In January 2015, ACA filed a Petition for Rulemaking asking the 
Commission: (i) To commence a rulemaking proceeding to extend for an 
additional three years the HD carriage exemption; and (ii) to clarify 
that analog-only cable systems are not subject to the HD carriage 
requirement because carriage of HD signals by such systems is not 
``technically feasible'' under Section 614(b)(4)(A) of the Act. On 
March 12, 2015, the Commission issued a Fifth Further Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding that, among other things, 
proposed to extend the HD carriage exemption for three more years.\4\ 
In their initial pleadings responsive to the Fifth Further Notice, 
multichannel video programming distributors (``MVPDs'') supported the 
Commission's proposal to extend the HD carriage exemption and 
broadcasters opposed it. After a series of discussions aimed at 
resolving their differences, ACA and NAB, on May 14, 2015, filed the 
joint proposal with the Commission.\5\
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    \4\ See Carriage of Digital Television Broadcast Signals: 
Amendment to Part 76 of the Commission's Rules, CS Docket No. 98-
120, Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 80 FR 16347 (2015) 
(``Fifth Further Notice'').
    \5\ See Joint Proposal. See also Joint Clarification; Letter 
from Erin L. Dozier, Senior Vice President and Deputy General 
Counsel, National Association of Broadcasters, and Ross Lieberman, 
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, American Cable 
Association, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, in CS Docket No. 
98-120 (filed May 13, 2015).
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III. Discussion

    4. We conclude that it would serve the public interest to adopt the 
joint proposal put forth by ACA and NAB. Throughout the course of this 
proceeding, ACA and NAB have expressed differing views about the 
appropriate scope and duration of the HD carriage exemption, among 
other issues. We find that the compromise reached by ACA and NAB as 
reflected in the joint proposal reasonably balances the interest of 
broadcast stations in having their HD signals transmitted in HD and the 
interest of small cable operators in upgrading their systems to carry 
HD broadcast signals in a manner that is cost efficient. We note that 
no industry commenter has lodged any objection to the joint proposal. 
We, therefore, find that the public interest would be served by 
adopting ACA and NAB's joint proposal, as set forth below: \6\
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    \6\ See Joint Proposal; Joint Clarification. We need not resolve 
in this order the issue whether analog-only cable systems are 
subject to the HD carriage requirement under Section 614(b)(4)(A) of 
the Act because under the terms of the joint proposal, cable systems 
that do not offer any programming in HD, including analog-only 
systems, will be exempt from the HD carriage requirement. See Joint 
Proposal at 1. Thus, our adoption of the joint proposal renders this 
issue moot.
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    a. HD Carriage Exemption Eligibility after June 12, 2015: A small 
cable system not offering any programming in HD is exempt from the HD 
carriage requirement. Beginning December 12, 2016, a system utilizing 
the HD carriage exemption shall no longer be eligible to use it once 
the system offers any programming in HD.
    b. Notice: Beginning December 12, 2016, at the time a small cable 
system utilizing the HD carriage exemption offers any programming in 
HD, the system must give notice that it is offering HD programming to 
all broadcast stations in its market that are carried on its system.
    c. Transition for Some Systems: A cable system utilizing the HD 
carriage exemption on June 12, 2015 that does not qualify for the HD 
carriage exemption on or after June 13, 2015 must come into compliance 
by December 12, 2016. A cable system that becomes ineligible for the HD 
carriage exemption after December 12, 2016 would be expected to come 
into compliance promptly.
    d. Revisions to Definition of ``Small'' Cable System: ``Small'' 
cable systems eligible for the HD carriage exemption would be redefined 
as those: (i) Serving 1,500 (rather than 2,500) or fewer subscribers, 
and not affiliated with a cable operator serving more than 2 percent 
(rather than 10 percent) of all MVPD subscribers, or (ii) having an 
activated channel capacity of 552 MHz or less.

IV. Procedural Matters

A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    5. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. As required by the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (``RFA'') \7\ an Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis (``IRFA'') was incorporated in the 
Fifth Further Notice

[[Page 35856]]

in this proceeding.\8\ The Commission sought written public comment on 
the proposals in the Fifth Further Notice, including comment on the 
IRFA. The Commission received no comments on the IRFA. This Final 
Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis (``FRFA'') conforms to the RFA.\9\
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    \7\ See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601-612, has been 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (``SBREFA''), Pub. L. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996). 
The SBREFA was enacted as Title II of the Contract With America 
Advancement Act of 1996 (``CWAAA'').
    \8\ See Fifth Further Notice, Appendix.
    \9\ See 5 U.S.C. 604.
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1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Sixth Report and Order
    6. This proceeding stems from a Petition for Rulemaking filed by 
the American Cable Association in January 2015 principally requesting 
that the Commission extend the exemption from the requirement to carry 
high definition (``HD'') broadcast signals under the ``material 
degradation'' provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 
that it granted to certain small cable systems in the 2012 Fifth Report 
and Order (``HD carriage exemption''). The HD carriage exemption will 
expire on June 12, 2015 without action by the Commission.
    7. In the accompanying Sixth Report and Order, the Commission 
adopts a proposal filed jointly by the American Cable Association 
(``ACA'') and the National Association of Broadcasters (``NAB'') that 
modifies and extends the HD carriage exemption. The joint proposal 
reflects a compromise between ACA and NAB on issues concerning, among 
other things, the appropriate scope and duration of the HD carriage 
exemption. The Sixth Report and Order concludes that the joint proposal 
strikes a reasonable balance between the interests of broadcast 
stations in having their HD signals transmitted without material 
degradation and the interests of small cable operators in upgrading 
their systems to provide HD broadcast signals in a manner that is cost 
efficient.
    8. In particular, the Sixth Report and Order adopts the following 
provisions that are set forth in the joint proposal:
     HD Carriage Exemption Eligibility after June 12, 2015: A 
small cable system not offering any programming in HD is exempt from 
the HD carriage requirement. Beginning December 12, 2016, a system 
utilizing the HD carriage exemption shall no longer be eligible to use 
it once the system offers any programming in HD.
     Notice: Beginning December 12, 2016, at the time a small 
cable system utilizing the HD carriage exemption offers any programming 
in HD, the system must give notice that it is offering HD programming 
to all broadcast stations in its market that are carried on its system.
     Transition for Some Systems: A cable system utilizing the 
HD carriage exemption on June 12, 2015 that does not qualify for the HD 
carriage exemption on or after June 13, 2015 must come into compliance 
by December 12, 2016. A cable system that becomes ineligible for the HD 
carriage exemption after December 12, 2016 would be expected to come 
into compliance promptly.
     Revisions to Definition of ``Small'' Cable System: 
``Small'' cable systems eligible for the HD carriage exemption would be 
redefined as those: (i) Serving 1,500 (rather than 2,500) or fewer 
subscribers, and not affiliated with a cable operator serving more than 
2 percent (rather than 10 percent) of all MVPD subscribers, or (ii) 
having an activated channel capacity of 552 MHz or less.
2. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response 
to the IRFA
    9. The Commission did not receive any comments in response to the 
IRFA.
3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Rules Will Apply
    10. The RFA directs the Commission to provide a description of and, 
where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that will 
be affected by the proposed actions if adopted.\10\ The RFA generally 
defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the 
terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small 
governmental jurisdiction.'' \11\ In addition, the term ``small 
business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' 
under the Small Business Act.\12\ A ``small business concern'' is one 
which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in 
its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria 
established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).\13\ The action 
taken in the accompanying Sixth Report and Order will affect small 
cable system operators and small television broadcast stations. A 
description of these small entities, as well as an estimate of the 
number of such small entities, is provided below.
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    \10\ 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
    \11\ 5 U.S.C. 601(b).
    \12\ 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition 
of ``small-business concern'' in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 
632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a 
small business applies ``unless an agency, after consultation with 
the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and 
after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more 
definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of 
the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal 
Register.''
    \13\ 15 U.S.C. 632.
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    11. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its 
own small business size standards for the purpose of cable rate 
regulation. Under the Commission's rules, a ``small cable company'' is 
one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide.\14\ Industry data 
indicate that there are currently 660 cable operators.\15\ Of this 
total, all but ten cable operators nationwide are small under this size 
standard.\16\ In addition, under the Commission's rate regulation 
rules, a ``small system'' is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer 
subscribers.\17\ Current Commission records show 4,629 cable systems 
nationwide.\18\ Of this total, 4,057 cable systems have less than 
20,000 subscribers, and 572 systems have 20,000 or more subscribers, 
based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that 
most cable systems are small entities.
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    \14\ 47 CFR 76.901(e).
    \15\ NCTA, Industry Data, Number of Cable Operators and Systems, 
http://www.ncta.com/Statistics.aspx (visited October 13, 2014).
    \16\ See SNL Kagan, ``Top Cable MSOs--12/12 Q''; available at 
http://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/TopCableMSOs.aspx?period=2012Q4&sortcol=subscribersbasic&sortorder=desc.
    \17\ 47 CFR 76.901(c).
    \18\ The number of active, registered cable systems comes from 
the Commission's Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) 
database on October 10, 2014. A cable system is a physical system 
integrated to a principal headend.
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    12. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size standard 
for small cable system operators, which is ``a cable operator that, 
directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 
percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated 
with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the 
aggregate exceed $250,000,000.'' \19\ There are approximately 54 
million cable video subscribers in the United States today.\20\ 
Accordingly, an operator serving fewer than 540,000 subscribers shall 
be deemed a small operator if its annual revenues, when combined with 
the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 
million in the aggregate.\21\ Based on available data, we find that all 
but ten incumbent cable operators are small entities under this size 
standard.\22\ We note that the

[[Page 35857]]

Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable 
system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual 
revenues exceed $250 million.\23\ Although it seems certain that some 
of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose 
gross annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time 
to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators 
that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the 
Communications Act.
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    \19\ 47 U.S.C. 543(m)(2); see 47 CFR 76.901(f) & nn. 1-3.
    \20\ See NCTA, Industry Data, Cable's Customer Base, http://www.ncta.com/industry-data (visited October 13, 2014).
    \21\ 47 CFR 76.901(f).
    \22\ See NCTA, Industry Data, Top 25 Multichannel Video Service 
Customers (2012), http://www.ncta.com/industry-data (visited Aug. 
30, 2013).
    \23\ The Commission does receive such information on a case-by-
case basis if a cable operator appeals a local franchise authority's 
finding that the operator does not qualify as a small cable operator 
pursuant to 76.901(f) of the Commission's rules. See 47 CFR 
76.901(f).
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    13. Open Video Systems. The open video system (OVS) framework was 
established in 1996, and is one of four statutorily recognized options 
for the provision of video programming services by local exchange 
carriers.\24\ The OVS framework provides opportunities for the 
distribution of video programming other than through cable systems. 
Because OVS operators provide subscription services,\25\ OVS falls 
within the SBA small business size standard covering cable services, 
which is ``Wired Telecommunications Carriers.'' \26\ The SBA has 
developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: 
all such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees.\27\ Census data 
for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for that 
entire year.\28\ Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 
employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees.\29\ Therefore, 
under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of these 
businesses can be considered small entities.
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    \24\ 47 U.S.C. 571(a)(3)-(4).
    \25\ See 47 U.S.C. 573.
    \26\  See 13 CFR 121.201, 2012 NAICS code 517110. This category 
of Wired Telecommunications Carriers is defined in part as follows: 
``This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in 
operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and 
infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of 
voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications 
networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single 
technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this 
industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that 
they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired 
telephony services, including VoIP services; wired (cable) audio and 
video programming distribution; and wired broadband Internet 
services.'' U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 NAICS Definitions, ``517110 
Wired Telecommunications Carriers,'' at http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \27\ 13 CFR 121.201; 2012 NAICS code 517110.
    \28\ U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census. See U.S. Census 
Bureau, American FactFinder, ``Information: Subject Series--Estab 
and Firm Size: Employment Size of Establishments for the United 
States: 2007--2007 Economic Census,'' NAICS code 517110, Table 
EC0751SSSZ5; available at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \29\ Id.
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    14. Television Broadcasting. This economic Census category 
``comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images 
together with sound.'' \30\ The SBA has created the following small 
business size standard for such businesses: those having $38.5 million 
or less in annual receipts.\31\ The 2007 U.S. Census indicates that 808 
firms in this category operated in that year. Of that number, 709 had 
annual receipts of $25,000,000 or less, and 99 had annual receipts of 
more than $25,000,000.\32\ Because the Census has no additional 
classifications that could serve as a basis for determining the number 
of stations whose receipts exceeded $38.5 million in that year, we 
conclude that the majority of television broadcast stations were small 
under the applicable SBA size standard.
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    \30\ U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 NAICS Definitions, ``515120 
Television Broadcasting,'' at http://www.census.gov./cgi-bin/sssd/
naics/naicsrch.
    \31\ 13 CFR 121.201; 2012 NAICS code 515120.
    \32\ U.S. Census Bureau, Table No. EC0751SSSZ4, Information: 
Subject Series--Establishment and Firm Size: Receipts Size of Firms 
for the United States: 2007 (515120), http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
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    15. Apart from the U.S. Census, the Commission has estimated the 
number of licensed commercial television stations to be 1,387 
stations.\33\ Of this total, 1,221 stations (or about 88 percent) had 
revenues of $38.5 million or less, according to Commission staff review 
of the BIA Kelsey Inc. Media Access Pro Television Database (BIA) on 
July 2, 2014. In addition, the Commission has estimated the number of 
licensed noncommercial educational (NCE) television stations to be 
395.\34\ NCE stations are non-profit, and therefore considered to be 
small entities.\35\ Based on these data, we estimate that the majority 
of television broadcast stations are small entities.
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    \33\ See Broadcast Station Totals as of June 30, 2014, Press 
Release (MB rel. July 9, 2014) (Broadcast Station Totals) at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-328096A1.pdf.
    \34\ See Broadcast Station Totals, supra.
    \35\ See generally 5 U.S.C. 601(4), (6).
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    16. We note, however, that in assessing whether a business concern 
qualifies as ``small'' under the above definition, business (control) 
affiliations \36\ must be included. Because we do not include or 
aggregate revenues from affiliated companies in determining whether an 
entity meets the revenue threshold noted above, our estimate of the 
number of small entities affected is likely overstated. In addition, we 
note that one element of the definition of ``small business'' is that 
an entity not be dominant in its field of operation. We are unable at 
this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish 
whether a specific television broadcast station is dominant in its 
field of operation. Accordingly, our estimate of small television 
stations potentially affected by the proposed rules includes those that 
could be dominant in their field of operation. For this reason, such 
estimate likely is over-inclusive.
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    \36\ ``[Business concerns] are affiliates of each other when one 
concern controls or has the power to control the other or a third 
party or parties controls or has the power to control both.'' 13 CFR 
21.103(a)(1).
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4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements for Small Entities
    17. In this section, we describe the reporting, recordkeeping, and 
other compliance requirements that the Commission adopts in the Sixth 
Report and Order.
    18. Reporting Requirements. The Sixth Report and Order does not 
adopt reporting requirements.
    19. Recordkeeping Requirements. The joint proposal adopted in the 
Sixth Report and Order requires that, ``[b]eginning December 12, 2016, 
at the time a small cable system utilizing the HD carriage exemption 
offers any programming in HD, the system must give notice that it is 
offering HD programming to all broadcast stations in its market that 
are carried on its system.'' This requirement obligates certain small 
cable operators to notify broadcast stations, and thus, to make and 
keep records of such notification.
    20. Other Compliance Requirements. The joint proposal adopted in 
the Sixth Report and Order:
     Requires ``[a] cable system utilizing the HD carriage 
exemption on June 12, 2015 that does not qualify for the HD carriage 
exemption on or after June 13, 2015 [to] come into compliance [with the 
HD carriage requirement] by December 12, 2016. A cable system that 
becomes ineligible for the HD carriage exemption after December 12, 
2016 would be expected to come into compliance promptly.''
     Requires that ``[b]eginning December 12, 2016, a system 
utilizing the HD carriage exemption shall no longer be eligible to use 
it once the system offers any programming in HD.''

[[Page 35858]]

5. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered
    21. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, 
which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) 
The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or 
timetables that take into account the resources available to small 
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; 
(3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an 
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small 
entities.\37\ We seek comment on the applicability of any of these 
alternatives to affected small entities.
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    \37\ 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1)-(c)(4).
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    22. The HD carriage exemption, as modified in the Sixth Report and 
Order, provides continued regulatory relief to operators of certain 
small cable systems, i.e., those that (i) serve 1,500 or fewer 
subscribers and are not affiliated with a cable operator serving more 
than two percent of all MVPD subscribers; or (ii) have an activated 
channel capacity of 552 MHz or less. Although some eligible cable 
systems will no longer qualify for the exemption as a result of the 
Sixth Report and Order, the joint proposal adopted in the order gives 
such systems until December 12, 2016 to come into compliance with the 
HD carriage requirement. We note that the modifications made to the 
exemption in the Sixth Report and Order were an outgrowth of 
discussions between ACA and NAB and thus reflect the interests of both 
small cable operators and broadcasters (including small broadcasters), 
respectively. The HD carriage exemption has a positive economic impact 
on any cable system operator that takes advantage of the exemption, and 
imposes no significant burdens on small television stations.
6. Report to Congress
    23. The Commission will send a copy of this Sixth Report and Order, 
including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the 
SBREFA.\38\ In addition, the Commission will send a copy of this Sixth 
Report and Order, including the FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy 
of the SBA. A copy of this Sixth Report and Order and the FRFA (or 
summaries thereof) also will be published in the Federal Register.\39\
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    \38\ See id. 801(a)(1)(A).
    \39\  See id. 604(b).
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B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    24. This Sixth Report and Order contains new information collection 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. It will be 
submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under 
Section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and other Federal 
agencies are invited to comment on the new or modified information 
collection requirements contained in this proceeding. In addition, 
pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 
107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific 
comment on how the Commission might further reduce the information 
collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 
employees.

C. Congressional Review Act

    25. The Commission will send a copy of this Sixth Report and Order 
in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability 
Office, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.\40\
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    \40\ See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
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D. Additional Information

    26. For more information, contact Raelynn Remy, 
Raelynn.Remy@fcc.gov, Policy Division, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2936.

V. Ordering Clauses

    27. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the authority 
found in sections 4, 303, 614, and 615 of the Communications Act of 
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 534, and 535, this Sixth Report 
and Order is adopted and will become effective July 23, 2015, except 
that the requirement described in paragraph III.4.b of the 
Supplementary Information, which contains new or modified information 
collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 
Public Law 104-13, will not become effective until the Federal 
Communications Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register 
announcing OMB approval and the effective date of that rule.
    28. It is further ordered that, pursuant to the Congressional 
Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), the Commission will send a copy of 
this Sixth Report and Order in CS Docket No. 98-120 in a report to 
Congress and the Government Accountability Office.
    29. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send a 
copy of this Sixth Report and Order in CS Docket No. 98-120, including 
the Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-15251 Filed 6-22-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P