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December 27, 2006, Alert No. 1,510.
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FCC Releases Report on Cable Prices

12/27. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a document [39 pages in PDF] titled "Report on Cable Industry Prices". The FCC adopted this item at a December 20 event.

This proceeding is titled "In the Matter of Implementation of Section 3 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992; Statistical Report on Average Rates for Basic Service, Cable Programming Service, and Equipment". This report is FCC 06-179 in MM Docket No. 92-266. The FCC also issued a short release [PDF] that describes the report.

The report begins with a summary of its major findings. It states that "cable prices increased more than 5 percent last year and by 93 percent since the period immediately prior to Congress’s enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Expanded basic prices rose more than 6 percent or twice the rate of inflation last year. Prices are 17 percent lower where wireline cable competition is present. DBS competition, however, does not appear to constrain cable prices -- average prices are the same as or slightly higher in communities where DBS was the basis for a finding of effective competition than in noncompetitive communities. Finally, increases in programming expenses were equivalent to more than half of the overall increase in prices for the basic and expanded basic tiers."

This report includes a statistical analysis of prices. The unit of analysis is markets. There are 659 observations. The report contains a single multivariate regression model for which the dependent variable is the log of the price in each market. The independent variables are the log of cable's share of the MVPD market in system area, log of median family income, log of number of parent company subscribers of cable operator, log of cable plant's capacity in MHz, log of population density in the community served, dichotomous variable for the presence or absence of vertical affiliation with one or more programming networks, dichotomous variable for whether a petition requesting a finding of effective competition in the community has been granted, and a dichotomous variable for availability or non-availability of local programming in DBS operators’ program offerings in the community served.

This model's estimates for the coefficients for all of the independent variables, except for median family income and local programming, are statistically significant at the 1% level. However, the R squared value is small (.28), indicating that little of the variation in cable prices from market to market is explained by this model.

The estimated coefficient for the market share variable is positive. The report states that "The positive relationship between cable prices and market share may suggest a structure-conduct nexus in which cable operators with high market shares wield unilateral market power to charge higher prices or it may reflect higher costs in markets in which cable operators have large market shares."

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a separate statement [PDF] that "the price for every service the Commission regulates has decreased -- except for cable. For instance, the average rate for wireless service has plummeted 80% and average interstate telephony rates have decreased almost 40%. This is, in part, because those other services have been subjected to competition from providers who have competed on price, as well as on service options and quality. In contrast, cable prices alone have increased, and they have risen more than 90%."

Martin added that "Cable does face some competition from DBS, but our report reveals that DBS and cable do not seem to compete on price."

He said that because of this, it is critical for the FCC to "remove regulatory barriers to the ability of a second cable operator to enter the market".

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell wrote in a statement [PDF] that "What the Cable Price Survey does not provide is an analysis of all of the potential factors that could cause overall rate increases. For instance, are higher rates reflective of many factors including: consumers buying more bundled service offerings; greater value being offered today compared with several years ago (such as the benefits of digital cable over analog, or more channel offerings); cost recovery due to regulatory burdens; or other causes?" (Parentheses in original.)

Kyle McSlarrow, head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), made a similar point. He stated in a NCTA release that "The FCC's pricing survey fails to account for the benefits of bundled pricing, its favorable impact on cable prices, and the greatly increased value of cable services in a digital world. Ignoring these factors makes the pricing survey obsolete on arrival and an unsound basis for policy decisions."

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein wrote in a concurring statement [PDF] that "once again this regular report provides insufficient data and analysis to explain how cable companies’ prices are growing at such tremendous rates, leaving both us and Congress without the information we need to know how best to combat rising prices." FCC Commissioner Michael Copps also wrote a concurring statement [PDF].

FCC Adopts Order Affecting Local Franchising Authorities

12/20. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted, but did not release, a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in its proceeding titled "Implementation of Section 621(a)(1) of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 as amended by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992".

The FCC issued a short press release, and all five Commissioners released statements.

The three Republican Commissioners supported this item, and the two Democrats opposed it. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein wrote a long dissent which attacks the factual basis for the order, disputes the order on policy grounds, asserts that the FCC lacks legal authority to issue the order, and criticizes the process by which the order was written. See also, story in this issue titled "Adelstein Opposes Franchising Order".

Kevin MartinFCC Chairman Kevin Martin (at right) wrote in his statement [PDF] in support of this item that "Telephone companies are investing billions of dollars to upgrade their networks to provide video. As new providers began actively seeking entry into video markets, we began to hear that some local authorities were making the process of getting franchises unreasonably difficult, despite clear statutory language. The record collected by the Commission in this proceeding cited instances where LFAs sat on applications for more than a year or required extraordinary in kind contributions such as the building of public swimming pools and recreation centers."

He said that "This item appropriately removes such regulatory barriers by giving meaning to the words Congress wrote in section 621 of the Cable Act."

Section 621 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, is codified at 47 U.S.C. § 541. Subsection (a)(1) provides that "A franchising authority may award, in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, 1 or more franchises within its jurisdiction; except that a franchising authority may not grant an exclusive franchise and may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise. Any applicant whose application for a second franchise has been denied by a final decision of the franchising authority may appeal such final decision pursuant to the provisions of section 555 of this title for failure to comply with this subsection."

Martin explained that "The ability to deploy broadband networks rapidly however, is intrinsically linked to the ability to offer video to consumers." That is, broadband network providers need to be able to earn revenues from the sale of video services to incent them to build their broadband networks. He said that "By enhancing the ability of new entrants to provide video services then we are advancing our goal of universal affordable broadband access for Americans, as well as our goal of increased video competition."

The FCC has not yet released this item. It has only offered a brief description of some of its contents. The FCC's release states that the order portion of this item "concludes that the current operation of the franchising process constitutes an unreasonable barrier to entry that impedes the achievement of the interrelated federal goals of enhanced cable competition and accelerated broadband deployment."

The release states that the FCC "Found that franchising negotiations that extend beyond certain time frames amount to an unreasonable refusal to award a competitive franchise within the meaning of Section 621(a)(1)".

Commissioner Adelstein wrote in his dissenting statement [8 pages in PDF] that the order imposes a "90-day shot clock for new entrants with existing rights of way", and requires "the grant of a new entrant’s franchise after 90-days".

He added that this "90-day shot clock seems to function more like a waiting period, during which time the new entrant has little incentive to engage in meaningful negotiations".

Adelstein's and others' use of the term "shot clock" is a metaphor based upon the US sport of basketball. Under National Basketball Association rules a team must take a shot at the goal within 24 seconds, or loose possession of the ball.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), wrote in a letter to the FCC on December 19, 2006, that "the proposed ``shot clock´´ has it backwards: it allows the franchise applicant to run out the clock in order to get a desirable outcome-video service without local oversight. If the Commission is seriously interested in upholding the law by preserving local input in the franchising process, then it should not create a disincentive for new providers to negotiate in good faith with local governments."

The FCC's release states that the FCC "Found that requiring an applicant to agree to unreasonable build-out requirements constitutes an unreasonable refusal to award a competitive franchise".

The FCC's release states that the FCC "Found that, unless certain specified costs, fees, and other compensation required by local franchising authorities are counted toward the statutory five percent cap on franchise fees, demanding them could result in an unreasonable refusal to award a competitive franchise".

The FCC's release states that the FCC "Found that it would be an unreasonable refusal to award a competitive franchise if the local franchising authority denied an application based on a new entrant’s refusal to undertake certain unreasonable obligations relating to public, educational, and governmental (``PEG´´) and institutional networks (``I-Nets´´)".

The FCC's release states that the FCC "Preempted local laws, regulations, and requirements, including local level-playing-field provisions, to the extent they impose greater restrictions on market entry than the rules adopted herein."

Finally, the FCC's release states that the FCC "concluded that although the record allows it to determine generally what constitutes an ``unreasonable refusal to award an additional competitive franchise´´ at the local level, the Commission does not have sufficient information to make such determinations with respect to franchising decisions made at the state level or in compliance with state statutory directives, such as statewide franchising decisions. As a result, the Order addresses only decisions made by county- or municipal-level franchising authorities."

This item is FCC 06-180 in MB Docket 05-311. The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [26 pages in PDF] on November 3, 2005. The FCC released the text of this NPRM on November 18, 2005. It is FCC 05-189. This proceeding is MB Docket 05-311. See also, story titled "FCC Adopts NPRM Regarding Local Franchising of Video Services" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,247, November 4, 2005.

Adelstein Opposes Franchising Order

12/20. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein dissented from the FCC's Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding local franchising authorities. The FCC adopted, but did not release, this item at a December 20 event. See also, See also, story in this issue titled "FCC Adopts Order Affecting Local Franchising Authorities".

Jonathan AdelsteinAdelstein (at right) wrote in his dissenting statement [PDF] that this order "goes out on a limb in asserting federal authority to preempt local governments, and then saws the limb off with a highly dubious legal and policy scheme that substitutes our judgment as to what is reasonable for that of local officials -- all in violation of the franchising framework established in the Communications Act."

He predicted that "The result will be ... a likely rejection by the courts."

He added that "the FCC is a regulatory agency, not a legislative body" and that "this is legislation disguised as regulation".

FCC orders are frequently overturned by the courts. The FCC often exceeds its statutory authority. And, the FCC often functions in a legislative capacity. See for example, article titled "Commentary: Administrative Process and the FCC" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,365, May 8, 2006.

Moreover, Commissioner Adelstein often participates in such legislative activities. Although, he, like other Commissioners, has not acknowledged the nature of the process. What is unusual about the present proceeding is that Commissioner Adelstein has so publicly accused the FCC of assuming legislative authority.

He also wrote that "the majority attempts to accomplish today what the elected representatives of the American people have tried to do through the legislative process. In doing so, the Commission not only disregards current law and exceeds its authority, but it also usurps congressional prerogatives, ignores cannons of statutory construction and the plain meaning of Title VI."

"Yet today, the Commission is federalizing the franchising process, taking it upon ourselves to determine in every local dispute what is ``unreasonable,´´" asserted Adelstein.

He continued that "For the past two years, both chambers of Congress have held nearly two dozen hearings, and sought to enact legislation amending the Cable Act to reform the current franchising process and ``strike the right balance between national standards and local oversight.´´ Yet, the Commission has finalized in the dark of last night what Congress was unable to resolve in two years of intensive deliberations. In contrast to the Senate where I used to work, one might call the FCC the world’s least deliberative body. And the final product shows it."

He elaborated that "The House bill proposed a national cable franchising regime, while the Senate bill proposed an expedited competitive franchise process and would have required local franchising authorities to issue franchises pursuant to a standard franchise application form that would be drafted by the Commission. Today’s Order turns federalism on its head by putting the Commission in the role of sole arbiter of what is a reasonable or unreasonable LFA practice and simply eliminating the franchise process in certain circumstances if an arbitrary shot clock has expired."

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps also opposed this item. He wrote in his statement [PDF] that he wanted to preserve LFA's "right to seek specific and far-reaching build-out requirements", and their "ability to negotiate for PEG and I-NET facilities".

He also questioned the FCC's legal authority. "Many people questioned, and continue to question, the Commission’s legal authority to do what it is doing today." He added that this item "only invites more delay, more confusion, and more possibility of legal challenge."

Reaction to FCC Franchising Order

12/20. Various entities reacted to the FCC's Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding local franchising authorities. The FCC adopted, but did not release, this item at a December 20 event. See also, story in this issue titled "FCC Adopts Order Affecting Local Franchising Authorities".

Kyle McSlarrow, head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), stated in a release that "it appears that the FCC pared back some of the more troubling proposals that had been floated in recent days.  The Commission made crystal clear that its order isn't a license for AT&T to ignore the franchising process and operate under different rules from its competitors.  In addition, the Commission stepped back from pre-empting all state franchising laws, many of which have acknowledged the value to consumers of a level playing field for all competitors.  We appreciate the FCC's commitment to complete action within six months on a further notice to address regulatory parity."

He added, "But the simple fact is that today's order doesn't provide a level playing field, a concept that has been universally supported up until now at federal, state, and local levels. We don't believe the Commission has the legal authority to establish separate regimes for incumbents and new entrants in today's highly competitive marketplace."

The National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Dennis Wharton stated in a release that the "NAB salutes the FCC for taking decisive action to increase much needed competition to cable monopolies. With today's action, the Commission has delivered a holiday treat for cable customers who will now have a choice and the ability to avoid rate hikes that run two to four times the annual rate of inflation."

Walter McCormick, head of the USTelecom, stated in a release that "We applaud the FCC for its vision and leadership to help bring consumers more choice in the video market. The steps outlined today will help fix the franchising process and end the unnecessary delays caused by outdated regulations. With the Commission's own data showing cable prices nearly doubling over ten years, streamlining the franchising process will help bring real competition and lower prices to the video market. It will also help speed the deployment of high-speed Internet services across the nation. The telecom industry will continue to work toward ending all unnecessary regulatory obstacles to help speed the delivery of new and innovative services to consumers."

Verizon's Susanne Guyer stated in a release that "Today's action will fast-forward the delivery of new choices, lower prices and better services to consumers. The FCC is standing up for consumers who are tired of skyrocketing cable bills and want greater choice in service providers and programming. Verizon has an aggressive schedule to deploy FiOS TV. This order will enable us to reach agreements with local franchise authorities more quickly so we can deliver the benefits of competition to consumers faster.  The FCC has taken strong steps to increase consumer choice and spur investment in broadband and video deployment."

Joe Savage, head of the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council, stated in a release that "The FCC is to be applauded for today's action streamlining the outmoded and detrimental video franchising process. This action caps a year in which state legislators and governors in eight states joined Texas in enacting new laws facilitating new video entry over fiber-to-the-home and other advanced broadband networks. As a result, American consumers will have more choice, lower rates, and access to much higher-speed broadband networks."

Jule Sigall Joins Microsoft

12/15. Jule Sigall will begin work at the Microsoft Corporation in January of 2007. Until December 15, 2006, he was the Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs at the Copyright Office (CO). David Carson, who has been General Counsel, is now the Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs. The position of Associate General Counsel, which has been held by Tanya Sandros, will be renamed Deputy General Counsel. Sandros is now the Acting General Counsel. Maria Pallente is the new Deputy General Counsel.

Rob Kasunic, Principal Legal Advisor in the Office of the General Counsel, is on leave for the 2006-2007 academic year. He is teaching intellectual property courses at American University's law school. Marybeth Peters remains the Register of Copyrights. See also, CO organizational chart.

Sigall recently worked on matters related to the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) proposed "Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations". He was also the principal drafter of the CO's January 2006 report [PDF] titled "Report on Orphan Works". The 110th Congress is likely to enact legislation implementing some of the recommendations contained in this report.

Sigall joined the CO on February 10, 2003. See, CO release. Before that, he worked in the intellectual property and technology practice group of the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

While at Arnold & Porter, he represented recording companies in UMG Recordings Inc. v., Inc. This was a successful action against a music storage service that allowed subscribers to copy and store online the content of purchased CDs, and then play them back via the internet. See, District Court's opinion [10 pages in PDF], which is also reported at 92 F. Supp. 2d 349. This case was UMG Recordings, Inc. v., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, D.C. No. 00-CV-0472 (JSR).

He also represented a photographer in Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp. This was a case involving the fair use exception to copyright infringement in the context of online digital images and search engines. The Court of Appeals held that Arriba Soft's use of small thumbnail copies of Kelly's copyrighted photographs in its search engine results constituted fair use. See, Court of Appeals' revised opinion [16 pages in PDF], which is also reported at 336 F.3d 811. This case is Leslie Kelly, dba Les Kelly Publications, dba Les Kelly Enterprises, dba Show Me The Gold v. Arriba Soft Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 00-55521, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, D.C. No. CV-99-00560-GLT.

The opinions in UMG Recording v. and Kelly v. Arriba Soft are the leading precedents pertinent to the pending cases involving whether the Google Print for Libraries (GPL) program violates the copyrights of authors and publishers. For a summary of these cases, see story titled "Google, Publishers and Authors Debate Google's Print for Libraries Program" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,239, October 25, 2005.

Also, Sigall was one of the attorneys in Bonneville International Corp. v. Peters, a case regarding the application of the sound recording digital performance right to internet streaming of radio signals. See, Court of Appeals' opinion [PDF].

See also, Sigall's George Washington University Law School bio.

More People and Appointments

12/21. Kristine Chadwick was named the Chief Financial Officer and Associate Executive Director (Finance) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). See, SEC release. Chadwick replaces Margaret Carpenter, who is retiring in January 2007. See, SEC release.

More News

12/27. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it will will continue its previously announced policy of forbearing from enforcing the prohibition of prerecorded calls in the Telemarketing Sales Rule's (TSR) call abandonment provisions, until the conclusion of the prerecorded call amendment proceeding. See, Federal Register, December 27, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 248, at Pages 77634-77635.

12/27. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, recites, and sets the effective date (December 27, 2006) for rules changes regarding taxation of income derived from the transmission of communications or data between the U.S. and a foreign country, and taxation of income from certain space or ocean activities, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 863(d) & (e). See, Federal Register, December 27, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 248, at Pages 77594-77612.

12/21. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces and explains its extension for certain public companies of the deadlines for compliance with the internal reporting requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. The notice states that the SEC is "extending further for smaller public companies the notice dates that were published on September 29, 2005, in Release No. 33-8618 [70 FR 56825], for their compliance with the internal control reporting requirements mandated by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Under the extension, a non-accelerated filer is not required to provide management's report on internal control over financial reporting until it files an annual report for its first fiscal year ending on or after December 15, 2007." The just published notice also states that the SEC is "adopting amendments that provide for a transition period for a newly public company before it becomes subject to the internal control over financial reporting requirements." See, Federal Register, December 21, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 245, at Pages 76580-76599.

12/21. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division announced yet another plea agreement in its ongoing investigation of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) price fixing. In this latest action, Young Hwan Park, who is currently President of Samsung Semiconductor Inc., plead to criminal violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and agreed to serve 10 months in prison and pay a criminal fine of $250,000. See, DOJ release.

12/21. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced in a release that it will hold a workshop that will address online marketing of negative options on Thursday, January 25, 2007. The FTC wrote in a notice in the Federal Register that "Many offers for products or services marketed to consumers today include not just an offer for one product or an initial provision of services, but the opportunity to consent in advance to continue to receive products or services in the future. This type of sales offer or agreement is commonly known as a ``negative option offer.´´ The central characteristic of a negative option offer is that the customer’s silence or failure to take an affirmative action to reject goods or services or to cancel the agreement is interpreted by the seller as acceptance of the offer." The workshop will be held in the FTC satellite building conference center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW. The deadline to submit written comments is February 26, 2007. See, Federal Register, December 27, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 248, at Pages 77753-77754.

More FCC News

12/22. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a redacted copy [63 pages in PDF] of its Memorandum Opinion and Order in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Applications for the Assignment of License from Denali PCS, L.L.C. to Alaska DigiTel, L.L.C. and the Transfer of Control of Interests in Alaska DigiTel, L.L.C. to General Communication, Inc." This order approves the transfer of a cellular license from Denali to Alaska DigiTel, and transfer of a controlling interest in Alaska DigiTel to GCI, subject to conditions. This item contains a long and detailed discussion of the effects upon competition of horizontal mergers in wireless markets. The vote was 5-0. However, Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein wrote a concurring statement [PDF], and Commissioner Michael Copps wrote a concurring statement [PDF], in which each expressed his unease with the transaction. This order is FCC 06-185 in WT Docket No. 06-114. The FCC sometimes drops noteworthy orders, in matters arising in the state of Alaska, during the year end holidays, when many observers of the FCC are away.

12/20. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted, and released, a Ninth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [26 pages in PDF] regarding public safety communications in the 700 MHz band. This proceeding is titled "In the Matter of Implementing a Nationwide, Broadband, Interoperable Public Safety Network in the 700 MHz Band / Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Communications Requirements Through the Year 2010". This item is FCC 06-181 in WT Docket No. 96-86 and PS Docket No. 06-229. Initial comments will be due 45 days after publication of a notice in the Federal Register. This publication has not yet occurred. Reply comments will be due 60 days after such publication.

12/20. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted, but did not release, a Declaratory Ruling finding that internet protocol (IP) captioned telephone service (CTS) is a form of telecommunications relay service (TRS) compensable from the Interstate TRS Fund. The FCC issued a release that explains that "An IP captioned telephone call can be set up similar to a two-line captioned telephone call, except that the line from the user to the provider would be via the Internet, not a second PSTN line. The consumer would make a voice to voice call to the other party on a standard telephone and the PSTN; at the same time, the voice of the called party is directed from the consumer’s telephone to a personal computer (or similar device) that routes it to the provider via the Internet. The provider, in turn, sends back to the consumer the text of what was spoken. As a result, the consumer can both hear (to the extent possible) what the called party is saying over the standard voice telephone headset, and read the text of what the called party said on the computer or similar device." See also, statement [PDF] of Kevin Martin, statement [PDF] of Deborah Tate, statement [PDF] of Robert McDowell, statement [PDF] of Michael Copps, and statement [PDF] of Jonathan Adelstein. This item is FCC 06-182 in CG Docket No. 03-123.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, December 27

The House and Senate will next meet at 12:00 NOON on Thursday, January 4, 2007. See, HConRes 503.

Friday, December 29

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Inquiry [37 pages in PDF] regarding preparation of its annual report to the Congress regarding the status of competition in markets for the delivery of video programming. This NOI is FCC 06-154 in MB Docket No. 06-189. The FCC adopted this NOI at an October 12, 2006, meeting, and released it on October 20, 2006. See, stories titled "FCC Adopts NOI Regarding Video Competition" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,467, October 12, 2006, and "FCC Releases NOI on Video Competition and Other Issues" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,473, October 23, 2006. See also, notice in the Federal Register, November 17, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 222, at Pages 66946-66953.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding competitive bidding procedures for Auction No. 72, the Phase II 220 MHz spectrum licenses auction scheduled to commence on June 20, 2007. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 20, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 244, at Pages 76332-76336.

5:00 PM. Deadline to submit requests to participate in the Copyright Office's and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) January 3 roundtable on the activities of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regarding the proposed Treaty on the Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting Organizations. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 12, 2006, Vol., No. 238, at Pages 74565-74566.

Monday, January 1

New Year's Day.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal offices will be closed. See, Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) list of federal holidays and 5 U.S.C. § 6103. The House Press Gallery will be closed.

Wednesday, January 3

12:30 PM. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the incoming Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, will give a speech. Prices vary. Location: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

1:00 - 3:00 PM. The Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a roundtable the activities of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regarding the proposed Treaty on the Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting Organizations. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 12, 2006, Vol., No. 238, at Pages 74565-74566. Location: Atrium Conference Room, USPTO, 600 Dulany Street, Madison West, 10th floor, Alexandria, VA.

Thursday, January 4

The House and Senate will meet at 12:00 NOON on Thursday, January 4, 2007. See, HConRes 503.

Friday, January 5

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to assist the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) in drafting a report on the ability of persons with hearing disabilities to access digital wireless telecommunications. See, FCC Public Notice [4 pages in PDF] (DA 06-2285). This proceeding is WT Docket No. 06-203.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its collection of data regarding Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) systems in the 800 MHz band. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 6, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 234, at Page 70765.

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