As Scott Flick of our office reminded everyone yesterday morning, the FCC shut down from October 1, 2013 through October 16, 2013, and upon reopening, suspended filing deadlines until it could sort out some rational way of returning to normality. Late last night, the FCC announced its solution to that problem. After the past few weeks of uncertainty, those regulated by the FCC now know how to proceed (more or less). The FCC’s approach will win no points for elegant simplicity, but it is an earnest–and appreciated–effort to avoid merely going with a “one size fits all” approach.
According to the Public Notice:
Flings, with the exception of [Network Outage Reporting System] filings and certain other specified filings, that were due between October 1 and October 6 will be due on October 22, 2013. Filings, with the exception of NORS filings and certain other specified filings, that were due between October 7 and October 16 will be due 16 days after the original filing date, an extension equivalent to the period of the Commission’s closure. Thus, for example, a filing that would have been due on October 7, will be due on October 23, an extension of 16 days. To the extent the revised due dates for filings under this Public Notice fall on a weekend or other Commission holiday, they will be due on the next business day. Finally, any regulatory and enforcement filings that would otherwise be required to be filed between October 17 and November 4 with the exception of the NORS filings and other specified filings, will be due for filing on November 4, 2013 (which is the first business day following a 16-day period after the Commission’s October 17 reopening).
That Public Notice also added that:
To the extent the due dates for filings to which reply or responsive pleadings are allowed are extended by this Public Notice, the due dates for the reply or responsive pleadings are extended by the same number of days. Thus, for example, if comments were originally due on October 30 and reply comments due ten days later, comments would now be due on November 4 and reply comments on November 14. In addition, any STAs expiring between October 1, 2013 and October 22, 2013 are extended
until November 4.
FCC regulatees should read the public notice in full for more detail, and to discern whether their planned filings fall into that “other specified filings” category mentioned above, for which the FCC has announced yet more individualized deadlines.
The federal shutdown has not been easy on anyone inside or outside the FCC, and we have received an absolute deluge of calls from clients trying to deal with the disruption. With last night’s announcement, FCC applicants now have a path forward. Let the frenzied filing begin!