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Blog Posts by Austin Schlick

Reform of Procedures, Ex Parte Rules

by Austin Schlick, General Counsel
May 27, 2011 - 03:50 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:124:height=100,width=65]]A little more than a year ago, I blogged that the FCC had begun two formal proceedings on ways to reform its procedures.  I’m pleased to report now that the reforms are reality.  As a result, starting on Wednesday, June 1, the Commission and the public will benefit from greater openness and fairness in the Commission’s decision-making.

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A Third-Way Legal Framework For Addressing The Comcast Dilemma

May 6, 2010 - 11:37 AM

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When the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in the Comcast/BitTorrent case, it was clear the decision could affect a significant number of important recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, the Commission’s Open Internet proceeding, and other policy initiatives related to broadband.  In light of the uncertainty created by the decision, the Chairman asked me to investigate all of the options available to the Commission.  Other FCC staff and I have developed a proposal that we believe resolves the doubt created by the D.C. Circuit’s opinion while providing a firm legal basis for the Commission’s limited, but vital role with respect to broadband.  Whether, all things considered, the legal response to Comcast sketched out in our proposal is the best one for the Commission to adopt would be for the five FCC Commissioners to answer after public comment and private study.  In my judgment, it’s a question worth asking.

Read more about the proposal here.

Read Chairman Genachowski’s statement discussing his reasons for seeking comment on the proposal here.

[Cross-posted from Blogband]

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FCC Reform of Procedures

by Austin Schlick, General Counsel
April 14, 2010 - 10:39 AM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:124:height=100,width=70]]I’m pleased to report that the FCC has begun two formal proceedings on ways to reform its procedures. 

The first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes rule changes to make the Commission’s decision-making processes more open, transparent, fair, and effective.  The major proposals in the Ex Parte NPRM include:

  • Requiring the public filing of a summary of every oral ex parte presentation
  • Requiring the filing of a notice that summarizes all data and arguments presented and allowing cross-references to earlier filings where appropriate 
  • Establishing a preference for electronic filing of all notices of ex parte presentations 
  • Requiring faster electronic filing (within four hours) of notices of permitted ex parte presentations made during the “Sunshine Period,” which typically begins a week before a public Commission Meeting, for those items on the Meeting agenda
  • Starting the Sunshine Period prohibition on ex parte presentations at midnight after a Sunshine notice has issued to enhance predictability.

The Commission is asking for public comment on all these proposals.  In addition, the Commission is seeking comment on other topics, such as revisiting our current exceptions to the Sunshine Period prohibition on ex parte presentations, requiring disclosure of ownership or other information about organizations making filings at the Commission, sanctions and enforcement for violations of the ex parte rules, and how the ex parte rules should apply in the context of new media, such as this blog.

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