Federal Communications Commission - American business
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
is a government agency regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as part of government regulation of evolving technologies. Like the FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the FCC was created to regulate the growth and use of communications systems, such as television and radio, that require the use of an electrical frequency spectrum transmitted through the air. Like other federal agencies, the FCC is directed by a five-member commission, with no more than three members from one political party and one member rotating off annually. Commissioners are nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate. The FCC has seven bureaus organized by function, including Cable Services, Common Carrier (telephone), Consumer Information, Enforcement, International, Mass Media (AM-FM radio and television broadcast stations), and Wireless Telecommunications (cellular and PCS phones, pagers, and twoway radios). Each bureau develops and implements regulatory programs, analyzes complaints, conducts investigations, and processes licenses. One of the most important functions of the FCC is LICENSING
. Mass-media companies are required to file license renewal requests every eight years, demonstrating that they are serving local communities. Licenses are limited in most mass-media markets. In recent years the FCC also expanded the sale of broadcast frequency licenses. These licenses sold for billions of dollars to telecommunications companies anticipating expanded wireless communications systems. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 attempted to increase COMPETITION
in the communications industry. The act directed incumbent local exchange carriers (telephone companies) to lease part of their network “at cost” to competitors. Numerous legal challenges have blocked many of the act’s goals.