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US: Court backs FCC decision and dismisses appeal

 |  July 25, 2018

On Wednesday, July 25, a federal appeals court dismissed a challenge to the Federal Comunications Commission’s (FCC) continued use of a rule that allows broadcasters to get a break for their UHF holdings.

The so-called “UHF discount” allows media companies to count their UHF stations at half their reach, which has allowed many station groups to amass more outlets and still fall within limits to broadcast ownership.

The discount was put in place in the 1980s as a way to give stations a break, given that the UHF signal was typically a poorer quality with a shorter reach. But those differences disappeared with the transition to digital television, and in 2016, the FCC voted to abolish it.

The appeals court said that the plaintiffs in the case, including the public interest group Free Press, lacked standing, but said that they did not consider the merits of the case.

Jessica Gonzalez of Free Press said that they were “disappointed that this panel of judges refused to rule on the FCC’s phony math and poor excuses for the obsolete and harmful UHF discount.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement that can be read here regarding the dismissal.

Full Content: The Hill

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