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Notice

Information Collections Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission

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AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

DATES:

Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before November 29, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

ADDRESSES:

Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email PRA@fcc.gov and to Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

OMB Control Number: 3060-0667.

Title: Section 76.630, Compatibility with Consumer Electronics Equipment; Section 76.1621, Equipment Compatibility Offer; Section 76.1622, Consumer Education of Equipment Compatibility.

Form Number: Not applicable.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

Number of Respondents and Responses: 8,250 respondents; 66,501 responses.

Estimated Time per Response: .017 hours-3 hours.

Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping and third party disclosure requirements; On occasion reporting requirement.

Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in Section 4(i) and Section 632 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

Total Annual Burden: 17,353 hours.

Total Annual Cost: $1,355.

Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

Needs and Uses: 47 CFR 76.630(a) states a cable system operator shall not scramble or otherwise encrypt signals carried on the basic service tier. This requirement is subject to certain exemptions explained below. Requests for waivers of this prohibition, which are allowed under 47 CFR 76.630(a)(2), must demonstrate either a substantial problem with theft of basic tier service or a strong need to scramble basic signals for other reasons. As part of this showing, cable operators are required to notify subscribers by mail of waiver requests. The notice to subscribers must be mailed no later than thirty calendar days from the date the request waiver was filed with the Commission, and cable operators must inform the Commission in writing, as soon as possible, of that notification date. The notification to subscribers must state:

On (date of waiver request was filed with the Commission), (cable operator's name) filed with the Federal Communications Commission a request for waiver of the rule prohibiting scrambling of channels on the basic tier of service. The request for waiver states (a brief summary of the waiver request). A copy of the request for waiver is on file for public inspection at (the address of the cable operator's local place of business).

Individuals who wish to comment on this request for waiver should mail comments to the Federal Communications Commission by no later than 30 days from (the date the notification was mailed to subscribers). Those comments should be addressed to the: Federal Communications Commission, Media Bureau, Washington, DC 20554, and should include the name of the cable operator to whom the comments are applicable. Individuals should also send a copy of their comments to (the cable operator at its local place of business). Cable operators may file comments in reply no later than 7 days from the date subscriber comments must be filed.

47 CFR 76.1621 states a cable system operators that use scrambling, encryption or similar technologies in conjunction with cable system terminal devices, as defined in § 15.3(e) of this chapter, that may affect subscribers' reception of signals shall offer to supply each subscriber with special equipment that will enable the simultaneous reception of multiple signals. The equipment offered shall include a single terminal device with dual descramblers/decoders and/or timers and bypass switches. Other equipment, such as two independent set-top terminal devices may be offered at the same time that the single terminal device with dual tuners/descramblers is offered. For purposes of this rule, two set-top devices linked by a control system that provides functionality equivalent to that of a single device with dual descramblers is considered to be the same as a terminal device with dual descramblers/decoders.

(a) The offer of special equipment shall be made to new subscribers at the time they subscribe and to all subscribers at least once each year (i.e., in subscriber billings or pre-printed information on the bill).Start Printed Page 67352

(b) Such special equipment shall, at a minimum, have the capability:

(1) To allow simultaneous reception of any two scrambled or encrypted signals and to provide for tuning to alternative channels on a pre-programmed schedule; and

(2) To allow direct reception of all other signals that do not need to be processed through descrambling or decryption circuitry (this capability can generally be provided through a separate by-pass switch or through internal by-pass circuitry in a cable system terminal device).

(c) Cable system operators shall determine the specific equipment needed by individual subscribers on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the subscriber. Cable system operators are required to make a good faith effort to provide subscribers with the amount and types of special equipment needed to resolve their individual compatibility problems.

(d) Cable operators shall provide such equipment at the request of individual subscribers and may charge for purchase or lease of the equipment and its installation in accordance with the provisions of the rate regulation rules for customer premises equipment used to receive the basic service tier, as set forth in § 76.923. Notwithstanding the required annual offering, cable operators shall respond to subscriber requests for special equipment for reception of multiple signals that are made at any time.

Information Collection Requirements

In October 2012, the Commission loosened its prohibition on encryption of the basic service tier. This rule change allows all-digital cable operators to encrypt, subject to certain consumer protection measures. 77 FR 67290 (Nov. 9, 2012); 47 CFR 76.630(a)(1). Encryption of all-digital cable service will allow cable operators to activate and/or deactivate cable service remotely, thus relieving many consumers of the need to wait at home to receive a cable technician when they sign up for or cancel cable service, or expand service to an existing cable connection in their home.

In addition, encryption will reduce service theft by ensuring that only paying subscribers have decryption equipment. Encryption could reduce cable rates and reduce the theft that often degrades the quality of cable service received by paying subscribers. Encryption also will reduce the number of service calls necessary for manual installations and disconnections, which may have beneficial effects on vehicle traffic and the environment.

Because this rule change allows cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier without filing a request for waiver, we expect that the number of requests for waiver will decrease significantly.

47 CFR 76.1622 states that Cable system operators shall provide a consumer education program on compatibility matters to their subscribers in writing, as follows:

(a) The consumer information program shall be provided to subscribers at the time they first subscribe and at least once a year thereafter. Cable operators may choose the time and means by which they comply with the annual consumer information requirement. This requirement may be satisfied by a once-a-year mailing to all subscribers. The information may be included in one of the cable system's regular subscriber billings.

(b) The consumer information program shall include the following information:

(1) Cable system operators shall inform their subscribers that some models of TV receivers and videocassette recorders may not be able to receive all of the channels offered by the cable system when connected directly to the cable system. In conjunction with this information, cable system operators shall briefly explain, the types of channel compatibility problems that could occur if subscribers connected their equipment directly to the cable system and offer suggestions for resolving those problems. Such suggestions could include, for example, the use of a cable system terminal device such as a set-top channel converter. Cable system operators shall also indicate that channel compatibility problems associated with reception of programming that is not scrambled or encrypted programming could be resolved through use of simple converter devices without descrambling or decryption capabilities that can be obtained from either the cable system or a third party retail vendor.

(2) In cases where service is received through a cable system terminal device, cable system operators shall indicate that subscribers may not be able to use special features and functions of their TV receivers and videocassette recorders, including features that allow the subscriber to: View a program on one channel while simultaneously recording a program on another channel; record two or more consecutive programs that appear on different channels; and, use advanced picture generation and display features such as “Picture-in-Picture,” channel review and other functions that necessitate channel selection by the consumer device.

(3) In cases where cable system operators offer remote control capability with cable system terminal devices and other customer premises equipment that is provided to subscribers, they shall advise their subscribers that remote control units that are compatible with that equipment may be obtained from other sources, such as retail outlets. Cable system operators shall also provide a representative list of the models of remote control units currently available from retailers that are compatible with the customer premises equipment they employ. Cable system operators are required to make a good faith effort in compiling this list and will not be liable for inadvertent omissions. This list shall be current as of no more than six months before the date the consumer education program is distributed to subscribers. Cable operators are also required to encourage subscribers to contact the cable operator to inquire about whether a particular remote control unit the subscriber might be considering for purchase would be compatible with the subscriber's customer premises equipment.

OMB Control Number: 3060-1104.

Title: Section 73.682(d), DTV Transmission and Program System and Information Protocol (“PSIP”) Standards.

Form Number: N/A.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; not for-profit institutions.

Number of Respondents and Responses: 1,812 respondents and 1,812 respondents.

Estimated Hours per Response: 0.50 hours.

Frequency of Response: Third party disclosure requirement; weekly reporting requirement.

Total Annual Burden: 47,112 hours.

Total Annual Cost: None.

Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in Sections 309 and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Confidentiality is not required with this collection of information.

Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

Needs and Uses: Section 73.682(d) of the Commission's rules incorporates by reference the Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc. (“ATSC”) Program System and Information Protocol (“PSIP”) standard “A/65C.” PSIP data is transmitted along with a TV Start Printed Page 67353broadcast station's digital signal and provides viewers (via their DTV receivers) with information about the station and what is being broadcast, such as program information. The Commission has recognized the utility that the ATSC PSIP standard offers for both broadcasters and consumers (or viewers) of digital television (“DTV”).

ATSC PSIP standard A/65C requires broadcasters to provide detailed programming information when transmitting their broadcast signal. This standard enhances consumers' viewing experience by providing detailed information about digital channels and programs, such as how to find a program's closed captions, multiple streams and V-chip information. This standard requires broadcasters to populate the Event Information Tables (“EITs”) (or program guide) with accurate information about each event (or program) and to update the EIT if more accurate information becomes available. The previous ATSC PSIP standard A/65-B did not require broadcasters to provide such detailed programming information but only general information.

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Federal Communications Commission.

Marlene H. Dortch,

Secretary, Office of Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 2016-23613 Filed 9-29-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6712-01-P