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FCC Proposes to Make All Universal Licensing System Filings Electronic

09/09/2019

The FCC is seeking comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that is part of an overall plan to transition completely to electronic filing, licenses, authorizations, and correspondence. The notice proposes to make all filings to the Universal Licensing System (ULS) completely electronic, expand electronic filing and correspondence elements for related systems, and require applicants to provide an email address on the FCC Forms related to these systems. Although much of the FCC’s ULS filings are already electronic, the changes suggested in the NPRM (in WT Docket No. 19-212) would require all Amateur Radio Service applications to be filed electronically. Under current rules, Amateur Radio applications may still be filed manually, with the exception of those filed by Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs).

“Given the drastic changes that have occurred with regard to the ubiquity of the internet and increased personal computer access, we find it unlikely that electronic filing remains infeasible or cost-prohibitive for the previously exempted types of filers, or that they lack resources to file electronically,” the FCC said in the NPRM, which was released on September 6. “We therefore propose to eliminate Section 1.913’s exemptions to mandatory electronic filing.”

The FCC said that while the vast majority of ULS applications today are submitted electronically, some are still manually filed, largely from exempted filers, such as radio amateurs. Last year, the FCC received some 5,000 manually filed applications out of a total of some 425,000 applications. Among other aspects, the FCC is seeking comment on whether its underlying assumptions about the ease of electronic filing for previously exempted filers are valid.

This NPRM also seeks comment on additional rule changes that would further expand the use of electronic filing and electronic service.

“Together, these proposals will facilitate the remaining steps to transition these systems from paper to electronic, reducing regulatory burdens and environmental waste, and making interaction with these systems more accessible and efficient for those who rely on them,” the FCC said.

Comments are due within 30 days of the NPRM’s release.



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