"This was brought up about 1-1/2 years ago with the link."
No, it wasn't. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about 18 months ago on this subject. But that's just a statement saying "We are considering a change...does anyone have comment on it?" And it is *NOT* an actual rule
change, nor is it a promise that a rule
change will happen.
Friday's statement, in contrast, is an actual announcement of a RULE CHANGE. It's the difference between saying "One day maybe I'll go cruising." and actually casting off the lines and doing it.
It's even bigger news because the most recent rule changes (which just went into effect this month) were the result of NPRM's that were published about FOUR YEARS ago, two years before the NPRM asking for comment on Morse. Since the FCC usually does not make changes in these rules more than once every two years, there was no reason to expect Morse to be dropped until 2008-2009 until this totally unexpected announcement. The FCC tucked this in along with a correction to the December rulemaking, which allows Pactor3 to continue in a slightly modified frequency range instead of cutting off 80-meter Pactor3 entirely.
Considering the usual pace of the FCC bureaucracy...This is surprisingly radical totally unexpected good news.