The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent federal agency with its five members appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 (1934 Act) and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The mission of the FCC is to ensure that the American people have available—at reasonable cost and without discrimination—rapid, efficient, nation- and worldwide communication services, whether by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable.

Although the FCC has restructured over the past few years to better reflect the industry, it is still required to adhere to the statutory requirements of its governing legislation, the Communications Act of 1934. The 1934 Act requires the FCC to regulate the various industry sectors differently. Some policymakers have been critical of the FCC and the manner in which it regulates various sectors of the telecommunications industry—telephone, cable television, radio and television broadcasting, and some aspects of the internet. These policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency’s operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors.

Since 2009, the FCC’s entire budget is derived from regulatory fees collected by the agency rather than through a direct appropriation. The fees, often referred to as “Section (9) fees,” are collected from license holders and certain other entities (e.g., cable television systems) and deposited into an FCC account. The law gives the FCC authority to review the regulatory fees and to adjust the fees to reflect changes in its appropriation from year to year.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), signed into law in March 2018, provided the FCC a budget of $322,035,000, all collected through regulatory fees. The law also reauthorized the FCC and authorized appropriations of $333,118,000 for FY2019 and $339,610,000 for FY2020.

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

August 1, 2018 (RL32589)
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Summary

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent federal agency with its five members appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 (1934 Act) and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The mission of the FCC is to ensure that the American people have available—at reasonable cost and without discrimination—rapid, efficient, nation- and worldwide communication services, whether by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable.

Although the FCC has restructured over the past few years to better reflect the industry, it is still required to adhere to the statutory requirements of its governing legislation, the Communications Act of 1934. The 1934 Act requires the FCC to regulate the various industry sectors differently. Some policymakers have been critical of the FCC and the manner in which it regulates various sectors of the telecommunications industry—telephone, cable television, radio and television broadcasting, and some aspects of the internet. These policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency's operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors.

Since 2009, the FCC's entire budget is derived from regulatory fees collected by the agency rather than through a direct appropriation. The fees, often referred to as "Section (9) fees," are collected from license holders and certain other entities (e.g., cable television systems) and deposited into an FCC account. The law gives the FCC authority to review the regulatory fees and to adjust the fees to reflect changes in its appropriation from year to year.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), signed into law in March 2018, provided the FCC a budget of $322,035,000, all collected through regulatory fees. The law also reauthorized the FCC and authorized appropriations of $333,118,000 for FY2019 and $339,610,000 for FY2020.


Overview of the Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent federal agency with its five members appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 (1934 Act, or "Communications Act")1 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.2 The mission of the FCC is to ensure that the American people have available, "without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges."3

The 1934 Act is divided into titles and sections that describe various powers and concerns of the commission.4

  • Title I—FCC Administration and Powers. The 1934 Act originally called for a commission consisting of seven members, but that number was reduced to five in 1983. Commissioners are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate to serve five-year terms; the President designates one member to serve as chairman. No more than three commissioners may come from the political party of the President. Title I empowers the commission to create divisions or bureaus responsible for specific work assigned and to structure itself as it chooses.
  • Title II—Common carrier regulation, primarily telephone regulation, including circuit-switched telephone services offered by cable companies. Common carriers are communication companies that provide facilities for transmission but do not originate messages, such as telephone and microwave providers. The 1934 Act limits FCC regulation to interstate and international common carriers, although a joint federal-state board coordinates regulation between the FCC and state regulatory commissions.
  • Title III—Broadcast station requirements. Much existing broadcast regulation was established prior to 1934 by the Federal Radio Commission and most provisions of the Radio Act of 1927 were subsumed into Title III of the 1934 Act. Sections 303-307 define many of the powers given to the FCC with respect to broadcasting; other sections define limitations placed upon it. For example, Section 326 of Title III prevents the FCC from exercising censorship over broadcast stations. Also, parts of the U.S. code are linked to the Communications Act. For example, 18 U.S.C. 464 makes obscene or indecent language over a broadcast station illegal.
  • Title IV—Procedural and administrative provisions, such as hearings, joint boards, judicial review of the FCC's orders, petitions, and inquiries.
  • Title V—Penal provisions and forfeitures, such as violations of rules and regulations.
  • Title VI—Cable communications, such as the use of cable channels and cable ownership restrictions, franchising, and video programming services provided by telephone companies.
  • Title VII—Miscellaneous provisions and powers, such as war powers of the President, closed captioning of public service announcements, and telecommunications development fund.

FCC Leadership

The FCC is directed by five commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms (except when filling an unexpired term). The President designates one of the commissioners to serve as chairperson. Only three commissioners may be members of the same political party. None of them can have a financial interest in any commission-related business.

  • Ajit Pai, Chair (confirmed by the Senate on May 7, 2012, sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a term ending on June 30, 2017; has not yet been reconfirmed for new term);
  • Brendan Carr (sworn in on August 3, 2017);
  • Michael O'Rielly (sworn in for a second term on January 29, 2016); and
  • Jessica Rosenworcel (sworn in on August 3, 2017).

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn stepped down from her position in May 2018. Geoffrey Starks has been nominated as her replacement. He is currently assistant bureau chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. If confirmed, his term will run through June 2022.

FCC Structure

The day-to-day functions of the FCC are carried out by 7 bureaus and 10 offices. The current basic structure of the FCC was established in 2002 as part of the agency's effort to better reflect the industries it regulates. The seventh bureau, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, was established in 2006.

The bureaus process applications for licenses and other filings, analyze complaints, conduct investigations, develop and implement regulatory programs, and participate in hearings, among other things. The offices provide support services. Bureaus and offices often collaborate when addressing FCC issues.5 The bureaus hold the following responsibilities:

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau—Addresses all types of consumer-related matters from answering questions and responding to consumer complaints to distributing consumer education materials.
  • Enforcement Bureau—Enforces FCC rules, orders, and authorizations.
  • International Bureau—Administers the FCC's international telecommunications policies and obligations.
  • Media Bureau—Develops, recommends, and administers the policy and licensing programs relating to electronic media, including cable television, broadcast television, and radio in the United States and its territories.
  • Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau—Addresses issues such as public safety communications, alert and warning of U.S. citizens, continuity of government operations and continuity of operations planning, and disaster management coordination and outreach.
  • Wireless Telecommunications Bureau—Handles all FCC domestic wireless telecommunications programs and policies.6 Wireless communications services include cellular, paging, personal communications services, public safety, and other commercial and private radio services. This bureau also is responsible for implementing the competitive bidding authority for spectrum auctions.
  • Wireline Competition Bureau—Administers the FCC's policies concerning common carriers (the companies that provide long distance and local service to consumers and businesses). These companies provide services such as voice, data, and other telecommunication transmission services.

The bureaus hold the following responsibilities:

  • Administrative Law Judges—Composed of judges who preside over hearings and issue decisions.
  • Communications Business Opportunities—Promotes competition and innovation in telecommunications ownership and information services.
  • Engineering and Technology—Advises the FCC on technical and engineering matters and develops and administers FCC decisions regarding spectrum allocations. The office also grants equipment authorizations, experimental licenses, and special temporary operation authority.
  • General Counsel—Serves as the FCC's chief legal advisor and representative.
  • Inspector General—Conducts and supervises audits and investigations relating to FCC programs and operations.
  • Legislative Affairs—Serves as the liaison between the FCC and Congress, as well as other federal agencies.
  • Managing Director—Administers and manages the FCC.
  • Media Relations—Informs the media of FCC decisions and serves as the FCC's main point of contact with the media.
  • Secretary—Preserves the integrity of the FCC's records, oversees the receipt and distribution of documents filed by the public through electronic and paper filing systems, and gives effective legal notice of FCC decisions by publishing them in the Federal Register and the FCC Record.
  • Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis—Works with the chairman, commissioners, bureaus, and offices to develop strategic plans, identify agency's policy objectives, and provide research, advice, and analysis of advanced, novel, and nontraditional communications issues.
  • Workplace Diversity—Ensures that the FCC provides employment opportunities for all persons regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or sexual preference.

FCC Strategic Plan

The current FCC Strategic Plan covers the five-year period FY2018-FY2022.7 The plan outlines four goals:

  • Closing the Digital Divide—Broadband is acknowledged as being critical to economic opportunity, but broadband is unavailable or unaffordable in many parts of the country. The FCC will seek to help close the digital divide, bring down the cost of broadband deployment, and create incentives for providers to connect consumers in hard-to-serve areas.
  • Promoting Innovation—Fostering a competitive, dynamic, and innovative market for communications services is a key priority for the FCC. The FCC plans to promote entrepreneurship, expand economic opportunity, and remove barriers to entry and investment.
  • Protecting Consumers and Public Safety—Serving the broader public interest is the FCC's core mission. The FCC plans to work to combat unwanted and unlawful robocalls, make communications accessible for people with disabilities, and protect public safety.
  • Reforming the FCC's Processes—One of the chairman's top priorities has been to implement process reforms to make the work of the FCC more transparent, open, and accountable to the public. The FCC plans to modernize and streamline its operations and programs to improve decisionmaking, build consensus, and reduce regulatory burdens.

The FCC has identified performance objectives associated with each strategic goal. Commission management annually develops targets and measures related to each performance goal to provide direction toward accomplishing those goals. Targets and measures are published in the FCC's Performance Plan, submitted with the commission's annual budget request to Congress. Results of the commission's efforts to meet its goals, targets, and measures are found in the FCC's Annual Performance Report published each February. The FCC also issues a Summary of Performance and Financial Results every February, providing a concise, citizen-focused review of the agency's accomplishments.

FCC Operations: Budget, Authorization, and Reporting to Congress

Since the 110th Congress, the FCC has been funded through the House and Senate Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations processes as a single line item. Previously, it was funded through what is now the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations process, also as a single line item.

Since 2009 the FCC's budget has been derived from regulatory fees collected by the agency rather than through a direct appropriation.8 The fees, often referred to as "Section (9) fees," are collected from license holders and certain other entities (e.g., cable television systems), and deposited into an FCC account. The FCC is authorized to review the regulatory fees each year and adjust them to reflect changes in its appropriation from year to year. Most years, appropriations language prohibits the use by the commission of any excess collections received in the current fiscal year or any prior years. These funds remain in the FCC account and are not made available to other agencies or agency programs nor redirected into the Treasury's general fund. The FCC's budgets from FY2000 to FY20189 are in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Historical FY2000-FY2018* Appropriated Budget Authority

(Dollars in Millions)

Source: FCC.

FCC FY2018 Budget

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), signed into law in March 2018, provided the FCC a budget of $322,035,000, all collected through regulatory fees. The law also authorized appropriations of $333,118,000 for FY2019 and $339,610,000 for FY2020.

FCC Authorization

Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), the FCC was reauthorized for the first time since 1990 (FCC Authorization Act of 1990, P.L. 101-396).

FCC Reporting to Congress

The FCC publishes four reports for Congress.

  • Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is the framework around which the FCC develops its yearly Performance Plan and Performance Budget. The FCC submitted its current four-year Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 in February 2018, in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, P.L. 111-352.
  • Performance Budget. The annual Performance Budget includes performance targets based on the FCC's strategic goals and objectives, and serves as the guide for implementing the Strategic Plan. The Performance Budget becomes part of the President's annual budget request.
  • Agency Financial Report. The annual Agency Financial Report contains financial and other information, such as a financial discussion and analysis of the agency's status, financial statements, and audit reports.
  • Annual Performance Report. At the end of the fiscal year, the FCC publishes an Annual Performance Report that compares the agency's actual performance with its targets.10

All of these reports are available on the FCC website, https://www.fcc.gov/about/strategic-plans-budget.

FCC-Related Congressional Activity—115th Congress

Legislation introduced in the 115th Congress that would affect the operation of the FCC is detailed in Table 1. House and Senate hearings in the 115th Congress regarding the operation of the FCC are detailed in Table 2 and Table 3, respectively. Links to individual hearing pages are included in these tables.

Table 1. House and Senate Legislation—115th Congress

Introduced

Bill #

Bill Title

Sponsor

Brief Summary

Committee

Bill Status

1/17/17

S. 174

FCC Commission Consolidated Reporting Act

Sens. Dean Heller and Brian Schatz

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to consolidate the reporting obligations of the FCC to improve congressional oversight and reduce reporting burdens.

S. Commerce, Science, and Transportation

8/3/17: Passed Senate;

8/4/17 Received in the House and held at the desk.

1/17/17

H.R. 583

No title

Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Direct the FCC to revoke certain changes to the ownership reporting requirements for noncommercial educational broadcast stations.

H. Energy and Commerce

1/17/17: Referred to committee.

1/4/17

H.R. 290

FCC Process Reform Act

Rep. Greg Walden

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for greater transparency and efficiency in the procedures followed by the FCC.

H. Energy and Commerce

1/24/17: Referred to committee.

1/23/17

H.R. 599

FCC Consolidated Reporting Act

Rep. Steve Scalise

Combine eight congressionally mandated previous reports on the communications industry into one biennial report, while eliminating four other reports.

H. Energy and Commerce

1/24/17: Referred to committee.

1/13/17

H.R. 557

FCC "ABCs" Act of 2017

Rep. Robert Latta

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to reform the FCC by requiring an analysis of benefits and costs during the rulemaking process, among other goals.

H. Energy and Commerce

1/13/17: Referred to committee.

5/18/17

H.R. 2546

FCC CIO Parity Act

Rep. Mimi Walters

Require FCC to ensure that its Chief Information Officer has a significant role in information technology responsibilities.

H. Energy and Commerce

5/19/2017: Referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

5/24/17

H.R. 2636

No title

Rep. Bill Johnson

To establish an independent inspector general for the FCC.

H. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

5/24/17: Referred to committee.

Source: CRS.

Table 2. Senate Hearings—115th Congress

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Date

Title

7/19/17

FCC Nominations Hearing

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/7/nomination-hearing-fcc

3/8/17

Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/3/oversight-of-the-federal-communications-commission

Source: CRS.

Table 3. House Hearings—115th Congress

Energy and Commerce

Date

Title

7/25/18

Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/oversight-of-the-federal-communications-commission/

7/25/17

Oversight and Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission

https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/oversight-reauthorization-federal-communications-commission/

Draft legislation released: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF16/20170725/106312/BILLS-115pih-FCCReauthorization.pdf

Source: CRS.

Appendix. FCC-Related Congressional Activity—114th Congress

Congressional action in the 114th Congress is detailed in Table A-1, Table A-2, and Table A-3.

Table A-1. House and Senate Legislation—114th Congress

Introduced

Bill #

Bill Title

Sponsor

Brief Summary

Committee

Bill Status

1/12/15

H.R. 279

No title

Rep. Robert Latta

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to limit the authority of the FCC over providers of broadband internet access service

House Energy and Commerce

1/16/15: Referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

1/26/15

S. 253

S.Rept. 114-58

Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2015

Sen. Dean Heller

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to replace various reporting requirements with a biannual communications marketplace report that the FCC would be required to publish on its website and submit to Congress.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

6/10/15: Passed the Senate.
6/11/15: Received in the House and held at the desk.

2/02/15

H.R. 655

FCC "ABCs" Act of 2015

Rep. Robert Latta

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to direct the FCC, in the case of a proposed or final rule (including a proposed or final amendment to an existing rule) that may have an economically significant impact, to include in the notice a cost-benefit analysis demonstrating that the benefits outweigh the costs.

House Energy and Commerce

2/25/15: Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

2/04/15

H.R. 734

H.Rept. 114-27

Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2015

Rep. Steve Scalise

See summary of S. 253

House Energy and Commerce

4/27/16: Approved by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

2/10/15

S. 421

Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015

Sen. Dean Heller

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for greater transparency and efficiency in the procedures followed by the FCC, and for other purposes.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

4/27/16: Approved by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

2/26/15

H.R. 1106

States' Rights Municipal Broadband Act of 2015

Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Amend Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to provide that such section does not authorize the FCC to preempt the laws of certain States relating to the regulation of municipal broadband, and for other purposes.

House Energy and Commerce

2/27/15: Referred to the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

2/26/15

S. 597

States' Rights Municipal Broadband Act of 2015

Sen. Thom Tillis

See summary of H.R. 1106

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

2/26/15: Referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

3/3/15

H.R. 1212

Internet Freedom Act

Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Prohibit the FCC from reclassifying broadband internet access service as a telecommunications service and from imposing certain regulations on providers of such service.

House Energy and Commerce

3/6/15: Referred to the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

3/17/15

H.R. 1396

Federal Communications Commission Collaboration Act of 2015

Rep. Anna Eshoo

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to authorize a bipartisan majority of Commissioners of the FCC to hold nonpublic collaborative discussions.

House Energy and Commerce

3/20/15: Referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

6/18/15

S. 1607

Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2015

Sen. Rob Portman

Authorizes the President to require an independent regulatory agency to (1) comply with regulatory analysis requirements applicable to other federal agencies; (2) provide the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs with the costs and benefits of a proposed or final economically significant rule and an assessment of alternatives to the rule; and (3) submit for review any proposed or final economically significant rule. Prohibits judicial review of the compliance or noncompliance of an independent regulatory agency with the requirements of this act.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

10/7/2015: Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably.

3/17/15

S. 760

Federal Communications Commission Collaboration Act of 2015

Sen. Dean Heller

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to authorize a bipartisan majority of Commissioners of the FCC to hold nonpublic collaborative discussions.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

3/17/15: Referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

5/29/15

H.R. 2583

Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015

Rep. Greg Walden

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for greater transparency and efficiency in the procedures followed by the FCC.

House Energy and Commerce

6/3/15: Ordered to be reported (amended) by voice vote.

6/1/15

H.R. 2589

No title

Rep. Renee L. Ellmers

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require the FCC to publish on its internet website changes to the rules of the commission not later than 24 hours after adoption.

House Energy and Commerce

6/5/15: Referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

06/1/15

H.R. 2592

No title

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require the FCC to publish on the website of the commission documents to be voted on by the commission.

House Energy and Commerce

6/5/15: Referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

6/1/15

H.R. 2593

No title

Rep. Robert E. Latta

Amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require identification and description on the website of the FCC of items to be decided on authority delegated by the commission.

House Energy and Commerce

6/5/15: Referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

3/7/16

S. 2644

FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016

Sen. John Thune

To reauthorize the FCC for FY2017 and 2018, and for other purposes.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

3/7/16: Introduced.

Source: CRS.

Table A-2. House Hearings—114th Congress

Energy and Commerce

Oversight and Government Reform

Judiciary

Date

Title

Date

Title

Date

Title

2/25/15

The Uncertain Future of the Internet

2/25/15

FCC Process: Examining the Relationship Between the FCC and the White House (Canceled)

3/2/15

Discussion of H.R. 1155, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome ("SCRUB") Act of 2015a

3/04/15

Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission: The FCC's FY2016 Budget Request

3/17/15

FCC: Process and Transparency

3/25/15

Wrecking the Internet to Save It? The FCC's Open Internet Rule

3/19/15

FCC Reauthorization: Oversight of the Commission

 

 

 

 

4/30/15

FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency

 

 

 

5/15/15

FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency—Part II

 

 

 

7/28/15

Continued Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

Appropriations

 

 

11/17/15

Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

3/24/15

FCC Budget Hearing

 

 

1/12/16

Legislative Hearing on Four Communications Bills

3/15/16

FCC Budget Hearing

 

 

4/13/16

Legislative Hearing on Seven Communications Bills

 

 

 

 

Source: CRS.

a. This hearing also included discussion of two bills not related to FCC procedure: H.R. 348, the "RAPID Act," and H.R. 712, the "Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015."

Table A-3. Senate Hearings—114th Congress

Commerce

Homeland Security and Government Affairs

Judiciary

Date

Title

Date

Title

 

 

3/18/15

Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

2/25/15

Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System

No hearings.

4/27/16

Hearing to consider S. 2644, the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016, to reauthorize the FCC for FY2017 and 2018, and other purposes.

Appropriations

 

 

9/16/16

Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

5/12/15

FCC Budget Hearing

 

 

Source: CRS.

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Specialist in Internet and Telecommunications Policy ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

The Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. §151 et seq., has been amended numerous times, most significantly in recent years by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, P.L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996). References in this report are to the 1934 Act, as amended, unless indicated. A compendium of communications-related laws is available from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce at http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/pubs/108-D.pdf. It includes selected acts within the jurisdiction of the committee, including the Communications Act of 1934, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Communications Satellite Act of 1962, National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organizations Act, Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act, Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, as well as additional communications statutes and selected provisions from the U.S. Code. The compendium was last amended on December 31, 2002.

2.

See "About the FCC," at http://www.fcc.gov/aboutus.html.

3.

47 U.S.C. §151.

4.

When Congress established the FCC in 1934, it merged responsibilities previously assigned to the Federal Radio Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Postmaster General into a single agency, divided into three bureaus, Broadcast, Telegraph, and Telephone. See Analysis of the Federal Communications Commission, Fritz Messere, at http://www.oswego.edu/~messere/FCC1.html and the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archive at http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/federalcommu/federalcommu.htm for additional information on the history of the FCC.

5.

FCC Fact Sheet, http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/aboutfcc.html.

6.

Except those involving satellite communications broadcasting, including licensing, enforcement, and regulatory functions. These functions are handled by the International Bureau.

7.

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-349143A1.pdf.

8.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-66, 47 U.S.C. §159) requires that the FCC annually collect fees and retain them for FCC use to offset certain costs incurred by the commission. The FCC implemented the regulatory fee collection program by rulemaking on July 18, 1994.

9.

The figure for FY2018 is the FCC's requested budget.

10.

OMB Circular A-136 allows agencies the option of producing (1) two separate reports, an Agency Financial Report and an Annual Performance Report, or (2) a consolidated Performance and Accountability Report. The same information is provided to Congress in either case. The FCC elected the first option for FY2011. Also, in addition to the reports it submits to Congress, the FCC publishes an annual Summary of Performance and Financial Information, which is a citizen-focused summary of the FCC's yearly activities.