Title II, Broadcast Services
SEC. 201. BROADCAST SPECTRUM FLEXIBILITY.
Title III is amended by inserting after section 335 (47 U.S.C. 335) the following new section:
'SEC. 336. BROADCAST SPECTRUM FLEXIBILITY.
'(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 614 or 615 or be deemed a multichannel video programming distributor for purposes of section 628;
'(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.
'(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 Act 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, United States Code.
'(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: Within 5 years after the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Commission shall report to the Congress on the implementation of the program required by this subsection, and shall annually thereafter advise the Congress on the amounts collected pursuant to such program.
'(f) Evaluation: Within 10 years after the date the Commission first issues additional licenses for advanced television services, the Commission shall conduct an evaluation of the advanced television services program. Such evaluation shall include--
'(1) an assessment of the willingness of consumers to purchase the television receivers necessary to receive broadcasts of advanced television services;
'(2) an assessment of alternative uses, including public safety use, of the frequencies used for such broadcasts; and
'(3) the extent to which the Commission has been or will be able to reduce the amount of spectrum assigned to licensees.
'(g) Definitions: As used in this section:
'(1) Advanced television services: The term 'advanced television services' means television services provided using digital or other advanced technology as further defined in the opinion, report, and order of the Commission entitled 'Advanced Television Systems and Their Impact Upon the Existing Television Broadcast Service', MM Docket 87-268, adopted September 17, 1992, and successor proceedings.
'(2) Designated frequencies: The term 'designated frequency' means each of the frequencies designated by the Commission for licenses for advanced television services.
'(3) High definition television: The term 'high definition television' refers to systems that offer approximately twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of receivers generally available on the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as further defined in the proceedings described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.'.
SEC. 202. BROADCAST OWNERSHIP.
(a) National Radio Station Ownership Rule Changes Required: The Commission shall modify section 73.3555 of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.3555) by eliminating any provisions limiting the number of AM or FM broadcast stations which may be owned or controlled by one entity nationally.
(b) Local Radio Diversity:
(1) Applicable caps: The Commission shall revise section 73.3555(a) of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.3555) to provide that--
(A) in a radio market with 45 or more commercial radio stations, a party may own, operate, or control up to 8 commercial radio stations, not more than 5 of which are in the same service (AM or FM);
(B) in a radio market with between 30 and 44 (inclusive) commercial radio stations, a party may own, operate, or control up to 7 commercial radio stations, not more than 4 of which are in the same service (AM or FM);
(C) in a radio market with between 15 and 29 (inclusive) commercial radio stations, a party may own, operate, or control up to 6 commercial radio stations, not more than 4 of which are in the same service (AM or FM); and
(D) in a radio market with 14 or fewer commercial radio stations, a party may own, operate, or control up to 5 commercial radio stations, not more than 3 of which are in the same service (AM or FM), except that a party may not own, operate, or control more than 50 percent of the stations in such market.
(2) Exception: Notwithstanding any limitation authorized by this subsection, the Commission may permit a person or entity to own, operate, or control, or have a cognizable interest in, radio broadcast stations if the Commission determines that such ownership, operation, control, or interest will result in an increase in the number of radio broadcast stations in operation.
(c) Television Ownership Limitations:
(1) National ownership limitations: The Commission shall modify its rules for multiple ownership set forth in section 73.3555 of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.3555)--
(A) by eliminating the restrictions on the number of television stations that a person or entity may directly or indirectly own, operate, or control, or have a cognizable interest in, nationwide; and
(B) by increasing the national audience reach limitation for television stations to 35 percent.
(2) Local ownership limitations: The Commission shall conduct a rulemaking proceeding to determine whether to retain, modify, or eliminate its limitations on the number of television stations that a person or entity may own, operate, or control, or have a cognizable interest in, within the same television market.
(d) Relaxation of One-To-A-Market: With respect to its enforcement of its one-to-a-market ownership rules under section 73.3555 of its regulations, the Commission shall extend its waiver policy to any of the top 50 markets, consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
(e) Dual Network Changes: The Commission shall revise section 73.658(g) of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 658(g)) to permit a television broadcast station to affiliate with a person or entity that maintains 2 or more networks of television broadcast stations unless such dual or multiple networks are composed of--
(1) two or more persons or entities that, on the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, are 'networks' as defined in section 73.3613(a)(1) of the Commission's regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.3613(a)(1)); or
(2) any network described in paragraph (1) and an English-language program distribution service that, on such date, provides 4 or more hours of programming per week on a national basis pursuant to network affiliation arrangements with local television broadcast stations in markets reaching more than 75 percent of television homes (as measured by a national ratings service).
(f) Cable Cross Ownership:
(1) Elimination of restrictions: The Commission shall revise section 76.501 of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 76.501) to permit a person or entity to own or control a network of broadcast stations and a cable system.
(2) Safeguards against discrimination: The Commission shall revise such regulations if necessary to ensure carriage, channel positioning, and nondiscriminatory treatment of nonaffiliated broadcast stations by a cable system described in paragraph (1).
(g) Local Marketing Agreements: Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the origination, continuation, or renewal of any television local marketing agreement that is in compliance with the regulations of the Commission.
(h) Further Commission Review: The Commission shall review its rules adopted pursuant to this section and all of its ownership rules biennially as part of its regulatory reform review under section 11 of the Communications Act of 1934 and shall determine whether any of such rules are necessary in the public interest as the result of competition. The Commission shall repeal or modify any regulation it determines to be no longer in the public interest.
(i) Elimination of Statutory Restriction: Section 613(a) (47 U.S.C. 533(a)) is amended--
(1) by striking paragraph (1);
(2) by redesignating paragraph (2) as subsection (a);
(3) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as paragraphs (1) and (2), respectively;
(4) by striking 'and' at the end of paragraph (1) (as so redesignated);
(5) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (2) (as so redesignated) and inserting '; and'; and
(6) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
'(3) shall not apply the requirements of this subsection to any cable operator in any franchise area in which a cable operator is subject to effective competition as determined under section 623(l).'.
SEC. 203. TERM OF LICENSES.
Section 307(c) (47 U.S.C. 307(c)) is amended to read as follows:
'(c) Terms of Licenses:
'(1) Initial and renewal licenses: Each license granted for the operation of a broadcasting station shall be for a term of not to exceed 8 years. Upon application therefor, a renewal of such license may be granted from time to time for a term of not to exceed 8 years from the date of expiration of the preceding license, if the Commission finds that public interest, convenience, and necessity would be served thereby. Consistent with the foregoing provisions of this subsection, the Commission may by rule prescribe the period or periods for which licenses shall be granted and renewed for particular classes of stations, but the Commission may not adopt or follow any rule which would preclude it, in any case involving a station of a particular class, from granting or renewing a license for a shorter period than that prescribed for stations of such class if, in its judgment, the public interest, convenience, or necessity would be served by such action.
'(2) Materials in application: In order to expedite action on applications for renewal of broadcasting station licenses and in order to avoid needless expense to applicants for such renewals, the Commission shall not require any such applicant to file any information which previously has been furnished to the Commission or which is not directly material to the considerations that affect the granting or denial of such application, but the Commission may require any new or additional facts it deems necessary to make its findings.
'(3) Continuation pending decision: Pending any hearing and final decision on such an application and the disposition of any petition for rehearing pursuant to section 405, the Commission shall continue such license in effect.'.
SEC. 204. BROADCAST LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES.
(a) Renewal Procedures:
(1) Amendment: Section 309 (47 U.S.C. 309) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
'(k) Broadcast Station Renewal Procedures:
'(1) Standards for renewal: If the licensee of a broadcast station submits an application to the Commission for renewal of such license, the Commission shall grant the application if it finds, with respect to that station, during the preceding term of its license--
'(A) the station has served the public interest, convenience, and necessity;
'(B) there have been no serious violations by the licensee of this Act or the rules and regulations of the Commission; and
'(C) there have been no other violations by the licensee of this Act or the rules and regulations of the Commission which, taken together, would constitute a pattern of abuse.
'(2) Consequence of failure to meet standard: If any licensee of a broadcast station fails to meet the requirements of this subsection, the Commission may deny the application for renewal in accordance with paragraph (3), or grant such application on terms and conditions as are appropriate, including renewal for a term less than the maximum otherwise permitted.
'(3) Standards for denial: If the Commission determines, after notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided in subsection (e), that a licensee has failed to meet the requirements specified in paragraph (1) and that no mitigating factors justify the imposition of lesser sanctions, the Commission shall--
'(A) issue an order denying the renewal application filed by such licensee under section 308; and
'(B) only thereafter accept and consider such applications for a construction permit as may be filed under section 308 specifying the channel or broadcasting facilities of the former licensee.
'(4) Competitor consideration prohibited: In making the determinations specified in paragraph (1) or (2), the Commission shall not consider whether the public interest, convenience, and necessity might be served by the grant of a license to a person other than the renewal applicant.'.
(2) Conforming amendment: Section 309(d) (47 U.S.C. 309(d)) is amended by inserting after 'with subsection (a)' each place it appears the following: '(or subsection (k) in the case of renewal of any broadcast station license)'.
(b) Summary of Complaints on Violent Programming: Section 308 (47 U.S.C. 308) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
'(d) Summary of Complaints: Each applicant for the renewal of a commercial or noncommercial television license shall attach as an exhibit to the application a summary of written comments and suggestions received from the public and maintained by the licensee (in accordance with Commission regulations) that comment on the applicant's programming, if any, and that are characterized by the commentor as constituting violent programming.'.
(c) Effective Date: The amendments made by this section apply to applications filed after May 1, 1995.
SEC. 205. DIRECT BROADCAST SATELLITE SERVICE.
(a) DBS Signal Security: Section 705(e)(4) (47 U.S.C. 605(e)(4)) is amended by inserting 'or direct-to-home satellite services,' after 'programming,'.
(b) FCC Jurisdiction Over Direct-to-Home Satellite Services: Section 303 (47 U.S.C. 303) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
'(v) Have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the provision of direct-to-home satellite services. As used in this subsection, the term 'direct-to-home satellite services' means the distribution or broadcasting of programming or services by satellite directly to the subscriber's premises without the use of ground receiving or distribution equipment, except at the subscriber's premises or in the uplink process to the satellite.'.
SEC. 206. AUTOMATED SHIP DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEMS.
Part II of title III is amended by inserting after section 364 (47 U.S.C. 362) the following new section:
'SEC. 365. AUTOMATED SHIP DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEMS.
'Notwithstanding any provision of this Act or any other provision of law or regulation, a ship documented under the laws of the United States operating in accordance with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System provisions of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention shall not be required to be equipped with a radio telegraphy station operated by one or more radio officers or operators. This section shall take effect for each vessel upon a determination by the United States Coast Guard that such vessel has the equipment required to implement the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System installed and operating in good working condition.'.
SEC. 207. RESTRICTIONS ON OVER-THE-AIR RECEPTION DEVICES.
Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall, pursuant to section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, promulgate regulations to prohibit restrictions that impair a viewer's ability to receive video programming services through devices designed for over-the-air reception of television broadcast signals, multichannel multipoint distribution service, or direct broadcast satellite services.