The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the Part 74 rules concerning Remote Pickup stations (“RPUs”). RPUs are one type of Broadcast Auxiliary Station (“BAS”) often used to transmit programming from remote sites to broadcast studios, from studios to transmitters, or between broadcast stations.
According to the FCC, the adoption of the changes proposed in the NPRM, which were requested by the Society of Broadcast Engineers and the Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum, will “eliminate outdated barriers to the use of modern, digital transmission technologies and allow broadcasters to use [BAS frequencies] more efficiently.” These rules were last updated in 2002. The petitions were published for comment, and were supported by the NAB and equipment manufacturers.
Some of the specific proposals include allowing broadcasters to use digital technologies, such as Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Next Generation Digital Network (NXDN), and others, for RPU operations; permitting RPU stations to use any digital emissions that meet the applicable emissions mask and bandwidth limitations; amending the RPU station identification requirements; and eliminating the creation of new 100 kilohertz RPU channels (but grandfathering existing ones).
Comments will be due 30 days following the date of publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register, and Reply Comments will be due 15 days thereafter.
The NPRM can be accessed here. If you would like more information about the proposals in the NPRM, or wish to comment on them, please contact any attorney in our office.