47 CFR § 73.646 - Telecommunications Service on the Vertical Blanking Interval and in the Visual Signal.

§ 73.646 Telecommunications Service on the Vertical Blanking Interval and in the Visual Signal.

(a) Telecommunications services permitted on the vertical blanking interval (VBI) and in the visual signal include the transmission of data, processed information, or any other communication in either a digital or analog mode.

(b) Telecommunications service on the VBI and in the visual signal is of an ancillary nature and as such is an elective, subsidiary activity. No service guidelines, limitations, or performance standards are applied to it. The kinds of service that may be provided include, but are not limited to, teletext, paging, computer software and bulk data distribution, and aural messages. Such services may be provided on a broadcast, point-to-point, or point to multipoint basis.

(c) Telecommunications services that are common carrier in nature are subject to common carrier regulation. Licensees operating such services are required to apply to the Commission for the appropriate authorization and to comply with all policies and rules applicable to the particular service.

(d) Television licensees are authorized to lease their VBI and visual signal telecommunications facilities to outside parties. In all arrangements entered into with outside parties affecting telecommunications service operation, the licensee or permittee must retain control over all material transmitted in a broadcast mode via the station's facilities, with the right to reject any material that it deems inappropriate or undesirable. The licensee or permittee is also responsible for all aspects of technical operation involving such telecommunications services.

(e) The grant or renewal of a TV station license or permit will not be furthered or promoted by proposed or past VBI or visual signal telecommunications service operation; the licensee must establish that its broadcast operation serves the public interest wholly apart from such telecommunications service activities. (Violation of rules applicable to VBI and visual signal telecommunications services could, of course, reflect on a licensee's qualifications to hold its license or permit.)

(f) TV broadcast stations are authorized to transmit VBI and visual telecommunications service signals during any time period, including portions of the day when normal programming is not broadcast. Such transmissions must be in accordance with the technical provisions of § 73.682.

[50 FR 4663, Feb. 1, 1985, as amended at 50 FR 9035, Mar. 6, 1985; 61 FR 36304, July 10, 1996]