47 U.S.C. § 336 Broadcast Spectrum Flexibility

LibraryUnited States Statutes
CurrencyCurrent through P.L. 118-21 (published on www.congress.gov on 11/13/2023)

(a) Commission action

If the Commission determines to issue additional licenses for advanced television services, the Commission-

(1) should limit the initial eligibility for such licenses to persons that, as of the date of such issuance, are licensed to operate a television broadcast station or hold a permit to construct such a station (or both); and

(2) shall adopt regulations that allow the holders of such licenses to offer such ancillary or supplementary services on designated frequencies as may be consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

(b) Contents of regulations

In prescribing the regulations required by subsection (a), the Commission shall-

(1) only permit such licensee or permittee to offer ancillary or supplementary services if the use of a designated frequency for such services is consistent with the technology or method designated by the Commission for the provision of advanced television services;

(2) limit the broadcasting of ancillary or supplementary services on designated frequencies so as to avoid derogation of any advanced television services, including high definition television broadcasts, that the Commission may require using such frequencies;

(3) apply to any other ancillary or supplementary service such of the Commission's regulations as are applicable to the offering of analogous services by any other person, except that no ancillary or supplementary service shall have any rights to carriage under section 534 or 535 of this title or be deemed a multichannel video programming distributor for purposes of section 548 of this title;

(4) adopt such technical and other requirements as may be necessary or appropriate to assure the quality of the signal used to provide advanced television services, and may adopt regulations that stipulate the minimum number of hours per day that such signal must be transmitted; and

(5) prescribe such other regulations as may be necessary for the protection of the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

(c) Recovery of license

If the Commission grants a license for advanced television services to a person that, as of the date of such issuance, is licensed to operate a television broadcast station or holds a permit to construct such a station (or both), the Commission shall, as a condition of such license, require that either the additional license or the original license held by the licensee be surrendered to the Commission for reallocation or reassignment (or both) pursuant to Commission regulation.

(d) Public interest requirement

Nothing in this section shall be construed as relieving a television broadcasting station from its obligation to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. In the Commission's review of any application for renewal of a broadcast license for a television station that provides ancillary or supplementary services, the television licensee shall establish that all of its program services on the existing or advanced television spectrum are in the public interest. Any violation of the Commission rules applicable to ancillary or supplementary services shall reflect upon the licensee's qualifications for renewal of its license.

(e) Fees

(1) Services to which fees apply

If the regulations prescribed pursuant to subsection (a) permit a licensee to offer ancillary or supplementary services on a designated frequency-

(A) for which the payment of a subscription fee is required in order to receive such services, or

(B) for which the licensee directly or indirectly receives compensation from a third party in return for transmitting material furnished by such third party (other than commercial advertisements used to support broadcasting for which a subscription fee is not required),

the Commission shall establish a program to assess and collect from the licensee for such designated frequency an annual fee or other schedule or method of payment that promotes the objectives described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2).

(2) Collection of fees

The program required by paragraph (1) shall-

(A) be designed (i) to recover for the public a portion of the value of the public spectrum resource made available for such commercial use, and (ii) to avoid unjust enrichment through the method employed to permit such uses of that resource;

(B) recover for the public an amount that, to the extent feasible, equals but does not exceed (over the term of the license) the amount that would have been recovered had such services been licensed pursuant to the provisions of section 309(j) of this title and the Commission's regulations thereunder; and

(C) be adjusted by the Commission from time to time in order to continue to comply with the requirements of this paragraph.

(3) Treatment of revenues

(A) General rule

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), all proceeds obtained pursuant to the regulations required by this subsection shall be deposited in the Treasury in accordance with chapter 33 of title 31.

(B) Retention of revenues

Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the salaries and expenses account of the Commission shall retain as an offsetting collection such sums as may be necessary from such proceeds for the costs of developing and implementing the program required by this section and regulating and supervising advanced television services. Such offsetting collections shall be available for obligation subject to the terms and conditions of the receiving appropriations account, and shall be deposited in such accounts on a quarterly basis.

(4) Report

The Commission shall annually advise the Congress on the amounts collected pursuant to the program required by this subsection.

(f) Preservation of low-power community television broadcasting

(1) Creation of class A licenses

(A) Rulemaking required

Within 120 days after November 29, 1999, the Commission shall prescribe regulations to establish a class A television license to be available to licensees of qualifying low-power television stations. Such regulations shall provide that-

(i) the license shall be subject to the same license terms and renewal standards as the licenses for full-power television stations except as provided in this subsection; and

(ii) each such class A licensee shall be accorded primary status as a television broadcaster as long as the station continues to meet the requirements for a qualifying low-power station in paragraph (2).

(B) Notice to and certification by licensees

Within 30 days after November 29, 1999, the Commission shall send a notice to the licensees of all low-power television licenses that describes the requirements for class A designation. Within 60 days after November 29, 1999, licensees intending to seek class A designation shall submit to the Commission a certification of eligibility based on the qualification requirements of this subsection. Absent a material deficiency, the Commission shall grant certification of eligibility to apply for class A status.

(C) Application for and award of licenses

Consistent with the requirements set forth in paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection, a licensee may submit an application for class A designation under this paragraph within 30 days after final regulations are adopted under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. Except as provided in paragraphs (6) and (7), the Commission shall, within 30 days after receipt of an application of a licensee of a qualifying low-power television station that is acceptable for filing, award such a class A television station license to such licensee.

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