Questions? Call 800.707.8160

Menu

Prime Electronics Blog

  • The Influence of the FCC

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a part of everyday life, in the United States. It is the large, Congress-appointed entity that came about through the Communications Act of 1934. It is responsible for regulating all telecommunication, whether interstate or international. This includes radio, wire, satellite, cable, and television transmitting.

    It may seem like it affects only big business, but it is interesting to take a look at how it indirectly affects every individual every day, in the mundane tasks we take for granted. Almost all electrical and electronic equipment transmits radio frequencies and is thus regulated by the FCC.

    When the toll fee for your morning commute is automatically deducted from the small plastic box on your windshield, and you don’t even have to stop the car, it is a FCC regulated transmission. Paying for your gas with a card at the pump is also regulated.

    Sending a job to the printer in the other room, from the computer in your bedroom, is a transmission. Even the radio controlled monster truck your son asked for is FCC regulated.

    The microwave emits waves that required it to be monitored by the FCC. The keyless entry you love on your new car is also. Blockbuster Video, located in your home town, is able to scan your membership card and see if you have a free rental (because of the information that is transmitted from corporate).

    The cash register at the store, the home alarm system you let your brother-in-law talk you into, and even your garage door opener- they are all FCC regulated, keeping you protected and ensuring proper use of radio wave technology throughout the United States.

  • FCC Regulation of CB and Amateur Radio

    The FCC regulates all telecommunication services, from the smallest to the largest. Out of necessity, therefore, the FCC is called upon to regulate and license even amateur radio and CB radio systems.

    CB is the acronym for Citizens Band Radio Service. It is simply a two-way private communication service, used for either business or personal activities. It only has a useable range of about one to five miles.

    The FCC only requires licensure for the manufacturers of the CB units, as long as they are unmodified. The FCC certifies the units as they are produced, so consumers are allowed to purchase them and use them without contacting the FCC. Check the CB unit for the FCC certification label.

    For amateur radio, individual users can learn about radio, how to build a radio, practice intercommunication, and learn about the technology of radio, with the help of FCC’s website links. They provide information about the aforementioned functions as well as the Sequential Call Sign System, vanity call signs, and other forms of communication through radio.

    In order to operate an amateur radio station, however, even if it is run from a garage or home studio, the FCC requires an application for licensure. The would-be radio operator must first receive an amateur operator license from the FCC, before proceeding into the world of radio transmission.

    In addition, in order to receive the license grant, one must pass an examination administered by a team of volunteer examiners. This will determine the operator class. The FCC thus ensures that even the smallest of radio stations is regulated.

  • FCC Licensing

    The FCC licenses such a variety of telecommunications services, it has had to develop an easier, faster way to serve the needs of individuals and companies all over the United States that need to license everything from television broadcasting services to amateur radio.

    There are five online licensing systems on the FCC website. The first is the Universal Licensing System (ULS). This system is for universal application filing. It walks the user through the licensing process step by step. The applicant must explain the application purpose and list the radio service code.

    The Broadcast Radio and Television Electronic Filling System (CDBS) is specifically for the filing of broadcast radio and television applications online. The FCC processes these applications and posts the information publicly, through the CDBS Public Access Link.

    The Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) is offered by the Media Bureau’s internet based system for Cable Operator and Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD) applications. These applications, and online changes that are made by the applicants, can also be viewed publicly on the Cable and CARS databases.

    The International Bureau Electronic Filing System (MyIBFS) is an online application system for international signaling point code (ISPC) and space stations, among other forms of telecommunication. It covers earth stations that communicate with space, as well.

    Finally, the OET Experimental Licensing System is on a designated website that allows people and companies to file requests for Special Temporary Authority, for experimental telecommunications technologies such as exhibits and demonstrations. The goal of these online licensing systems is to streamline the process of obtaining licensure through the FCC.

  • Early Days of Telecommunications

    Telecommunications is the field of communicating through signals. Today, that means fiber optics, digital technologies, and satellite-assisted services. But, in its beginnings, telecommunication did not even involve wires.

    In 1971, the Chappe brothers of France created a semaphore system, using moveable arms on a pole, to communicate with each other between separate schools they were attending. 2 years later, in 1793, they established the first commercial semaphore system in Paris.

    Napoleon supported this idea and spread the Chappe brothers’ system throughout France. Italy, Russia, and Germany joined the system. But, in England the fog made the visual system impractical.

    It is reported that Samuel Morse saw the semaphore system in action, during a visit to Europe. In 1840, Morse discouraged Congress from setting up a semaphore system from New York City to New Orleans, because he was developing the telegraph. In 1844, he demonstrated the telegraph publicly.

    By 1851, there were 51 telegraph companies operating in the United States. 10 years later, there were 2,250 telegraph offices in operation. Cyrus Field laid the first Atlantic cable in 1867. This advanced telecommunication between nations.

    In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. On a humorous note, when presented to the nation as a potential upgrade from the telegraph, Chauncey DePew, president of the Telegraph Company, and his review committee asked of the telephone, “Why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States?”

    The telephone, in fact, became possibly the greatest leap forward in telecommunications that has ever occurred. It has become the foundation for many newer, faster, and more intricate technologies that make up the telecommunication industry of today.

  • Digital TV Controversy

    Current news from the heart of Brazil, in Rio De Janeiro, is that the digital TV controversy may rage on for years. The worldwide issue is currently focused on Brazil’s next move. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his administration have announced their selection of the digital TV standard used by Japan, for servicing the country of Brazil.

    Protestors are decrying this “decision” as a political tactic and nothing more. Activists want the democratization of the media. In fact, they doubt that the system choice is even true. They believe it may be a media ploy to give them more time in their decision.

    The three digital TV systems in consideration are the Japanese ISDB, the U.S. ATSC, and Europe’s DVB. The reason it is so important to watch Brazil’s decision is because it will effectively dominate the rest of the South American market. The technology must be used on a massive scale, so smaller countries won’t have a choice in the matter, but to adopt the choice Brazil makes.

    Helio Costa, the minister of Communications in Brazil, along with broadcasting companies in the country, has been lobbying the administration to choose Japanese technology. They insist that it will provide the best interaction, transmission, and high definition image transmission for cell phone service.

    While this may or may not be true, perhaps the more important consideration is that a lot of this pressure really comes from these broadcasting companies recognizing that the Japanese system will allow the functioning of TV service, for longer, during the changeover.

    The other standards would better serve the telephone companies, in sending audiovisual transmissions. This is a technology that the television broadcasting companies would like to keep a hold of. The telephone companies are transnational, while only 30% of television broadcasting can come from non-Brazilian sources.

    It would thus take an amendment to the constitutional foreign policy limit, a problem that weighs heavy in the conflict between sides. But, either way, policy must change because each company, currently allowed only one channel, will need two to serve analog and digital customers during the changeover to digital service. The process is expected to take years. And so, the world watches and waits to see the action Brazil takes in the digital TV controversy.

  • Media Ownership Review of 2010

    Every four years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to review media ownership rules. While the review was due for 2010, it has been held up by an ongoing court case that involves several media reform groups.

    In preparation for the latest quadrennial review, the FCC commissioned nine economic studies. And in order to get input on its regulations and how to address the needs and changes of the media, they held six public workshops. But a disagreement that arose over cross-ownership remains unresolved.

    Interestingly, the FCC lowered restrictions that prevented newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. This meant that a single company could own and operate a major newspaper and a large radio or TV station as well. This, however, did not fly with advocates for non-monopolies.

    The Prometheus Radio Project is an activist group that has been trying to prevent the allowance of cross-ownership for years, albeit for the time being, in vain. Their goal was to maintain and encourage competition, which cross-ownership definitely does not help.

    It is the Prometheus Radio Project group that has, with other activist groups, worked to take the issue to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Their argument is that the new rules strengthen stronger media companies and allow them to take down the smaller companies that have fewer resources to combine ownership.

    With this battle going on, the Media Ownership Review is still on hold. It is too important for the FCC to know the outcome before it can properly review media ownership. For now, there is no date set for the Media Ownership Review to take place.

  • 1996 Amendment to the Communications Act of 1934

    The United States hadn’t had a major change in the laws of telecommunication for over 61 years, when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 came about. Bill Clinton signed it into law, with the purpose of making a milestone in the history of telecommunication policy.

    It was the first time the internet was included in the broadcasting and spectrum allotment. It was also the first act signed in Cyberspace. One of the most heralded parts of the law was in Title 3, the Cable Services title, which allowed cross-ownership in media. It leveled the playing field, allowing any communications business to join the competition.

    Essentially, it deregulated the broadcasting market, opening it up for a competitive, progressive, market economy. This act updated the much outdated Communications Act of 1934, which initially created the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the regulatory agency over telecommunications of all kinds.

    With the old regulatory barriers in place, only a few competitors had entered the field, before the act of 1996, by going through the court system and a lot of red tape. The goal was to eliminate this red tape and make it easier for new competitors to offer telecommunications services. It also required that the bigger companies, with their services already in place, would allow new companies to connect through their networks.

    However, the deregulations have instead led to the bigger companies having more freedom to squash the smaller companies. Now, there is a concentration of media ownership with regional, local, and independent media outlets losing their places to these corporate giants. It would seem that if the trend continues, the government may have to step back in to pull back the monopolies and try a new strategy for increasing competition in the telecommunications marketplace.

  • Public Broadcasting Act of 1967

    Public broadcasting was first established by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. This act formed the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This eventually led to the development of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), programming services which are still widely used and well-known today.

    Lyndon B. Johnson, president at the time, stated that a primary goal for this act, among other things, was to “enrich man’s spirit.” It was enacted to provide educational material to adults and children throughout the nation, without a cost, accessible to any who view television.

    The new funds it provided for broadcast facilities were to enrich educational radio and television broadcasting. It was planned that PBS would be a part of classroom education for decades to come, and hopefully lead to global education efforts as well. PBS, operating under the same goal today as it started with in 1967, is currently supported mainly by private donations.

    The NPR continues forward as a digitally innovative media organization. It has developed award-winning news and other programming, which it sends to 900 independent stations. Through these stations, NPR gets out to 27.2 million radio listeners each week.

    Like PBS, the NPR depends on private donations. Hopefully, with continued generous donations of the public, both PBS and NPR can continue on their mission of reaching the nation with educational and enriching programming for the foreseeable future.

  • The Freeze of 1948

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) froze the granting of new television licenses, on September 30, 1948. This did not affect those broadcasters that had already been authorized. The goal was to stem the tide of would-be broadcaster rushing in for licensure.

    The FCC, at the time, was swamped with hundreds of requests for licensing. It was creating a problem for allocation and causing interference issues. The FCC wanted time to study the issues and work towards a better overall solution.

    The freeze, originally set to last just six months, was extended when the Korean War began. Plus, the issues the FCC was trying to resolve were complicated and many. It ended up taking four years to end the freeze.

    Seven hundred applications were on hold during the freeze, as the FCC debated over five issues in question: a standard for color television, reserving space for educational TV, the reduction of interference between channels, the creation of a national channel allocation scheme, and the opening up of more spectrum space.

    The April 14, 1952 FCC “6th Report and Order” effectively lifted the freeze. The decisions had been made on all five dilemmas. In the end, a color standard was chosen, 242 channels were designated for educational non-commercial use, strict rules separated stations sharing channels, channel allocation was resolved with an assignment table, and the entire spectrum of UHF band channels was authorized for use.

  • The Communications Act of 1934

    Communication technologies are used on a very broad scale for such a variety of purposes. Whether by radio frequency or satellite transmission, telecommunications are a part of everyday life for virtually everyone in the United States.

    Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there is a great deal of regulation that goes on behind the scenes for monitoring and licensing purposes. The Communications Act of 1934 formed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), per the advisement of the committee formed by President Roosevelt to examine the telecommunications industry.

    Daniel Roper, the Secretary of Commerce, put forth the recommendation of the committee that the massive numbers of various broadcasters of radio and telephone technologies should be regulated by one entity. Thus, the FCC was brought about by the Communications Act of 1934 and has been regulating telecommunications ever since.

    The act, as it stands today with some amendments, consists of seven titles, or sections. Title I explains the general provisions of the law. Title II discusses common carriers. Title III discusses the radio-related provisions.

    Title IV lists procedural and administrative provisions while Title V details penal provisions and forfeitures. Title VI is the Cable Communications section that was added by the Cable Communications Act of 1984. Finally, miscellaneous provisions are discussed in Title VII.

    Today, the law has been looked to as activists have been fighting the steps taken to fight terrorism, with the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The law of 1934 still stands, although the newer security act has affected some of what the original law set forth. Debates will continue, but the FCC, established by the 1934 Act will undoubtedly remain in force for the foreseeable future.

Items 91 to 100 of 163 total

per page
Page:
  1. 1
  2. ...
  3. 8
  4. 9
  5. 10
  6. 11
  7. 12
  8. ...
  9. 17