FCC Cancels April 10 Public Meeting

Federal Communications Commission Deals with Issues Without Need for Public Vote

The Federal Communications Commission canceled its April 10 public meeting, having taken care of business without the need for a public vote.

The commission had planned to deal with several major issues, including emergency alerts on mobile phones and proposed fines against digital-TV-equipment companies for violating rules about labeling TV sets, selling sets without DTV tuners and compatibility with the V-chip/ratings system.

But the FCC Wednesday released its order setting up the rules for emergency alerts on cell phones and dealt with the DTV-equipment violators through fine proposals and consent decrees released Thursday.

At a Hill hearing this week, FCC chairman Kevin Martin outlined the monies the agency was preparing to collect in payments from the companies. He said it amounted to $6.5 million from seven manufacturers with TVs that allegedly might not adjust to any changes in the V-chip/ratings system; a little over $2.9 million from two companies for violating rules against importing analog-only sets; and 21 notices of liability totaling $5.1 million for not labeling sets with analog-only tuners.

Martin also said several weeks ago that if he could get those things wrapped up early, the FCC might forego the meeting.

The FCC has to hold at least one meeting a month, but it is already scheduled for an April 17 field hearing at Stanford University, its second field hearing on the issue of network neutrality.