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FCC's Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis

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Released: May 18, 2012

The Federal Communications Commission



Final Plan for
Retrospective Analysis
of Existing Rules
May 18, 2012

Executive Summary


On July 11, 2011, President Obama issued Executive Order 13579, Regulation and
Independent Regulatory Agencies. The Executive Order recognizes that independent
agencies should promote the goals of protecting public health, safety, welfare and the
environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness and job
creation. The Executive Order asks independent agencies to develop a plan, consistent
with law and reflecting the agency’s particular resources, regulatory priorities and
processes, to periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine
whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed.
Consistent with Executive Order 13579, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC
or Commission) developed a Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing
Rules (the “Preliminary Plan”) and released it on November 7, 2011. In the Preliminary
Plan, the FCC recognized the importance of retrospective analysis: Because it is
impossible to anticipate the effect of every rule or every result of innovation, it is
prudent to reevaluate rules and data collections in light of new information and
circumstances. The Preliminary Plan identified numerous Commission proceedings that
predated the Executive Order, as the FCC historically has incorporated retrospective
review into its rulemaking process. The Preliminary Plan also described the ongoing
agency-wide process of identifying outmoded or counterproductive rules.
After a period of public comment and internal review, the Commission has developed
this Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules (the “Final Plan”). The Final
Plan represents the Commission’s strategy for incorporating retrospective analysis into
its processes for reviewing its rules.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

I. Background

The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television,
wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and United States
territories. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and operates as an
independent government agency overseen by Congress.
As specified in Section 1 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the FCC’s
mission is to “make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States,
without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid,
efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with
adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”1 In addition, Section 1 provides that the
Commission was created “for the purpose of the national defense” and “for the purpose
of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio
communications.”2
The Commission is committed to being a responsive, efficient and effective agency
capable of facing the technological and economic opportunities of the new millennium.
As part of the Commission’s goal to be a model of excellence in government, the
agency has, since 2009, undertaken far-reaching initiatives designed to achieve
statutory objectives while removing burdens on industry and promoting innovation and
job growth. Since 2009, the Commission has eliminated 219 regulations in furtherance
of these goals.3


1 47 U.S.C. § 151.
2 Id.
3 A list of the regulations the Commission has eliminated is attached hereto as an Appendix.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

National Broadband Plan.

As part of the National Broadband Plan, the Commission
staff reviewed a number of FCC rules and policies and suggested revisions or updates.
In the first two years of the National Broadband Plan, the FCC has made substantial
progress, implementing more than 85% of the items on its ambitious action agenda.
This action agenda contained more than 60 key FCC proceedings and initiatives,
including proceedings creating the Connect America Fund and the Mobility Fund and
reforming intercarrier compensation; clarifying and streamlining the rules that govern
broadband network operators’ ability to obtain just, reasonable and nondiscriminatory
access to utility poles for the build out of their networks; and updating the rules
regarding use and deployment of CableCARDs to reduce the burden on multichannel
video programming distributors (MVPDs) and consumers.

Data Innovation Initiative.

In June 2010, the FCC launched the Data Innovation
Initiative to modernize and streamline how it collects, uses, and disseminates data. A
new cross-bureau data team was established and the agency’s first-ever Chief Data
Officer was appointed. As part of the Data Innovation Initiative, the Commission has
identified 25 data collections that may be eliminated.
As discussed further below, the Commission regularly examines its existing regulations
and identifies means for minimizing regulatory burdens on industry while continuing to
advance the public interest.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

II. Scope of Plan

Each Bureau and the majority of Offices in the Commission is involved in retrospective
analysis of the rules that it implements. As part of our Data Innovation Initiative, each
of the Bureaus is tasked with identifying obsolete or overly burdensome data collections
for potential elimination. Each Bureau and Office also has been asked to undertake a
thorough review of regulations to identify duplicative, obsolete or repealed rules that
should be taken off the books. Every part of the Commission is involved in efforts to
eliminate outdated regulations and to promote private investment and innovation that
creates jobs and spurs economic growth.
The FCC’s regulatory reform efforts extend beyond retrospective review. Under the
Administrative Procedure Act, it is common practice for FCC rulemaking decisions to
analyze the costs and benefits of proposed regulations as reflected in the agency
record. A particular focus has been brought to this process by directing the early
involvement of the Commission’s Chief Economist in the analytical process of
rulemakings and by having FCC staff consult with the staff of the Office of Information
and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on best practices in conducting cost-benefit analyses. A
focus on market-based policies also has helped develop and advance important policy
innovations, such as the concept of using incentive auctions for reallocating spectrum,
increasing the flexible use of spectrum and considering market-based techniques to
more efficiently distribute Universal Service Fund support.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

The Commission is committed to thoughtfully and diligently conducting reviews of
existing rules, and taking other important steps to meet our statutory obligations and
mission in a way that grows our economy, creates jobs and benefits all Americans.
This plan covers the following documents produced by the FCC:
·
Existing significant regulations;
·
Existing information collections; and
·
Future significant regulations.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

III. Efforts Underway Consistent With Executive

Order 13579


The Commission’s well-established retrospective reviews build upon statutory provisions
that require the agency to review existing regulations for continuing relevance and
efficacy. As a general matter, to identify additional regulations ripe for retrospective
analysis, the Commission considers whether a regulation:
(1) has been affected by changes in technology or new scientific research or
changes in market structure;
(2) has a disproportionate or undue burden on particular entities, has caused
unintended negative effects, or could result in greater net benefits to the public
if modified; and
(3) has been subject to frequent requests for waivers by affected stakeholders
or been identified by the public as needing revision.
A. Statutory Retrospective Reviews




i) Section 11 of the Communications Act
The FCC is required by Section 11 of the Communications Act to (1) review biennially its
regulations that apply to the operations or activities of telecommunications service
providers, and (2) determine whether those regulations are “no longer necessary in the
public interest as the result of meaningful economic competition between providers of
such service.”4 Following a biennial review, the Commission is required to modify or
repeal any such regulations that are no longer necessary in the public interest.


4 47 U.S.C. § 161.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

The FCC’s most recent application of Section 11 was its comprehensive 2010 biennial
review of telecommunications regulations.5 Consistent with the Commission’s interest in
reducing regulatory burdens, a focus of the 2010 biennial review was on rules that
relate to data gathering, with the goals of improving data quality and processes,
identifying areas where additional data collection is needed and eliminating unnecessary
data collections.
ii) Regulatory Flexibility Act
Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the FCC to publish annually in the
Federal Register a plan for the periodic review of rules that have a significant economic
impact on a substantial number of entrepreneurs and other small businesses.6
Consistent with the requirements of Section 610, the FCC considers the following
factors in reviewing each rule: (a) the continued need for the rule; (b) the nature of
complaints or comments received from the public concerning the rule; (c) the
complexity of the rule; (d) the extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts
with other federal rules and, to the extent feasible, with State and local rules; and (e)
the length of time since the rule has been evaluated or the degree to which technology,
economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the rule.7
Pursuant to Section 610, the FCC reviews annually its rules that have been in effect for
ten years. The FCC releases a Public Notice that is published in the Federal Register
and parties are asked to comment on whether the rule should be continued.8 The
Commission then seeks further comment on the rules found to warrant elimination or
modification to ensure the development of a complete record on the specific provisions.


5 Commission 2010 Biennial Review of Telecommunications Regulations, 26 FCC Rcd 16943
(2011).
6 5 U.S.C. § 610.
7 Id. § 610(b).
8 See, e.g., FCC Seeks Comment Regarding Possible Revision or Elimination of Rules Under the
Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 610, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 11024 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

iii) Section 202(h) – Broadcast Ownership Review
Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, requires the
Commission to review its broadcast ownership rules every four years and determine
whether they are in the public interest as the result of competition.9 Under Section
202(h), the Commission must repeal or modify any regulation it determines is no longer
in the public interest.
Pursuant to this requirement, the Commission undertakes a rigorous analysis of its
broadcast ownership rules every four years. Such review includes conducting field
hearings, seeking extensive comment on the current rules and commissioning studies
on the current marketplace and the state of the media industry. The 2010 quadrennial
review of the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules is ongoing.10
iv) Paperwork Reduction Act
The FCC reviews its significant information collections at least once every three years
pursuant to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).11 The PRA
establishes a process for the review and approval of government information collections
in order to minimize the paperwork burden for the public, maximize the utility of the
information collected and improve the quality and use of the information. To obtain
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of an information collection, the FCC
is required to demonstrate that the information request is the least burdensome


9 Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-104, § 202(h), 110 Stat. 56, 111-12 (1996);
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-199, § 629, 118 Stat. 3 (2004)
(amending Sections 202(c) and 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996).
10 2010 Quadrennial Regulatory Review – Review of the Commission’s Broadcast Ownership
Rules and Other Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 202 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996,
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 17489 (2011).
11 44 U.S.C. § 3501 et seq.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

necessary for the proper performance of the agency’s functions, is not duplicative and
has practical utility.12
The FCC is required to request an extension of an OMB approved information collection
approximately every three years. Prior to seeking such approval, the FCC conducts a
thorough review of its information collection to ensure that the agency does not request
an extension of an information collection unless it continues to be necessary. Since
2009, the FCC voluntarily allowed 24 OMB approved information collections to lapse
without seeking renewal authorization, reducing burdens on both industry and
consumers.
v) Forbearance Requests
The Commission considers requests for forbearance from statutory or regulatory
requirements applicable to telecommunications carriers or services pursuant to Sections
10 and 332 of the Communications Act.13 The Commission will grant such requests if
the requirement is no longer necessary to ensure that service is provided in a just and
reasonable manner and consumers will be protected.
B. Other Retrospective Reviews


The FCC’s discretionary retrospective review efforts predate Executive Order 13579. In
addition to statutory requirements to routinely review regulations, the Commission
conducts retrospective reviews of regulations to address changes in technology or
market structure, when it appears that existing rules are disproportionately or overly
burdensome or otherwise not operating as intended at the time of adoption and in
response to suggestions from outside parties.


12 5 C.F.R. § 1320.5.
13 47 U.S.C. §§ 160, 332.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

i) Technological Advances, New Scientific Research or Changes in

Market Structure

The Commission regularly reviews its regulations to ensure their continued applicability
as a result of changes in technology and industry structure. Some examples include:
·

Universal Service Fund Reform.

The Commission is undertaking a once-in-a
generation overhaul of the multi-billion dollar universal service fund and related
rules, and has released several items in connection with this reform effort.
o

USF/ICC Transformation Order.

On October 27, 2011, the
Commission adopted an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(FNPRM) modernizing the universal service fund and intercarrier
compensation regime to make affordable broadband available to all
Americans and accelerate the transition from circuit-switched to IP
networks.14 The Commission created the Connect America Fund (CAF) to
deliver targeted support to areas where broadband funding will have the
biggest impact. The CAF includes a Mobility Fund to provide support to
accelerate the nation’s ongoing efforts to close gaps in mobile wireless
service, with the first-ever reverse auction scheduled for September 27,
2012 to award $300 million in Mobility Fund Phase I support to carriers
that commit to provide 3G or better mobile voice and broadband services
in areas where such services are unavailable.15 The Commission also
established bill-and-keep as the ultimate end point for intercarrier
compensation and took immediate action to end wasteful and costly
gaming of the intercarrier compensation system, including schemes such
as access stimulation and phantom traffic. The Commission also


14 Connect America Fund, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26
FCC Rcd 17663 (2011).
15 Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Scheduled For September 27, 2012, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd
530 (2012).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

established prospective intercarrier compensation rules for Voice over
Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic.
o

Lifeline/Link Up Reform.

On January 31, 2012, the Commission
adopted a Report and Order and FNPRM that substantially revises the
Lifeline program, a program that ensures that eligible low-income
consumers who do not have the means to pay for telephone service can
receive that service.16 These reforms substantially strengthen protections
against waste, fraud, and abuse; improve program administration and
accountability; improve enrollment and consumer disclosures; initiate
modernization of the program for broadband; and constrain the growth of
the program in order to reduce the burden on all who contribute to the
Universal Service Fund. The Commission simplified the administration of
the Lifeline program and revised the rules to reflect the current
marketplace. The Commission also revised the Lifeline program to
provide funding on a pilot basis for broadband services in addition to voice
service with the goal of making broadband more affordable for low-
income Americans. In the FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on
multiple issues directed at further improving the efficiency and
effectiveness of the Lifeline program.
o

USF Contribution Reform

. On April 27, 2012, the Commission adopted
a FNPRM seeking to reform the contribution side of universal service,
which has not been fundamentally changed since the Commission first
developed it in 1997.17 It requires all telecommunications carriers and


16 Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization, Report and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, WC Docket Nos. 11-42, 03-109, 12-23; CC Docket No. 96-45 (rel. Feb. 6,
2012).
17 Universal Service Contribution Methodology, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WC
Docket No. 06-122; GN Docket No. 09-51 (rel. Apr. 30, 2012).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

certain other providers of telecommunications to contribute on the basis
of their end-user revenues. Providers of interconnected VoIP services
must contribute, but providers of broadband Internet access services do
not (unless they choose to offer the transmission component of the
service on a common-carrier basis). The FNPRM seeks comment with an
eye toward comprehensive reform such as that achieved in the High-Cost
and Low-Income programs.
o

Upgrading E-Rate Program.

In September 2010, the Commission
issued an Order upgrading and modernizing the E-rate program (also
known as the schools and libraries universal service support mechanism)
to improve broadband connectivity to schools and libraries.18 Building on
the Commission’s past experience and the experiences of stakeholders
with the E-rate program, the Order enables schools and libraries to better
serve their communities by providing more flexibility to select and make
available the most cost-effective broadband services, simplifies and
streamlines the E-rate application process and improves safeguards
against waste, fraud and abuse.
·

Innovation in the Broadcast Television Spectrum Band.

In a November
2010 NPRM, the Commission initiated a process to further address the country’s
growing demand for wireless broadband services, spur innovation and
investment in mobile and ensure that America keeps pace with the global
wireless revolution, by proposing to make a significant amount of new spectrum
available for broadband.19 The NPRM focused on the preliminary steps necessary
to enable the repurposing of a portion of the frequency bands currently used by


18 Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism, Sixth Report and Order, 25 FCC
Rcd 18762 (2010).
19 Innovation in the Broadcast Television Bands: Allocations, Channel Sharing and
Improvements to VHF, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 16498 (2010).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

broadcast television such that it may later be made available for flexible use by
fixed and mobile wireless communications services, including mobile broadband.
Reallocation of this spectrum as proposed will provide the necessary flexibility for
meeting the requirements of these new applications. New legislation gives the
Commission authority to conduct incentive auctions as a means by which
broadcasters may voluntarily contribute spectrum for repurposing.20
·

Emergency Alert System Modernization.

In this Order, the Commission
responded to developments in alerting technology by revising its rules to
modernize the Emergency Alert System (EAS).21 Specifically, the item
incorporates the latest technologies and capabilities into the existing EAS and
provides a foundation for transitioning to next generation alert messaging. The
new Common Alert Protocol-based EAS will be more flexible and robust that the
current system, will integrate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s
(FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and will be
compatible with many state alerting systems. The item also modernizes and
streamlines the Commission’s EAS rules by eliminating outdated technical and
procedural requirements to improve the overall effectiveness of EAS.
·

Digital Encryption.

The Commission has proposed modifying its rules to allow
cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in all-digital cable systems.22
Digital technology enables cable operators to activate cable services remotely,
and this proposed rule modification will eliminate the need for many service
appointments to subscribers’ homes.


20 Middle Class Tax Relief Act and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96 (2012).
21 Review of the Emergency Alert System, Fifth Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 642 (2012).
22 Basic Service Tier Encryption; Compatibility Between Cable Systems and Consumer
Electronics Equipment, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 14870 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

·

Modification of Outage Reporting Requirements.

The Commission
adopted an Order in February 2012 amending its outage reporting requirements
to account for new technologies.23 The item makes the interconnected IP-based
services upon which consumers are increasingly dependent more reliable by
facilitating the analysis of outages, thereby enabling industry to restore services
and mitigate outages more efficiently in the future. The Commission deferred
the question of outage reporting requirements for broadband Internet service
providers pending further study on the issue.
·

Part 43 Rulemaking.

In May 2011, the Commission adopted a Report and
Order and FNPRM to modernize and streamline the Commission’s international
reporting requirements to reflect changes in technology, regulation and
international telecommunications markets.24 The Commission uses the data
collected by these reporting requirements to carry out its statutory duties to
protect the interests of U.S. consumers – particularly those who use international
services – and U.S. international service providers, and to monitor and facilitate
healthy competition in international markets. In the Order, the Commission
eliminated a number of outdated reporting requirements. In the FNPRM, the
Commission proposed several changes to the reporting requirements that should
greatly reduce the burden on smaller carriers and the complexity and detail of
the information required from the largest carriers while ensuring that the
Commission has the information it needs to carry out its statutory duties and
make information available to the public. These reforms are part of the
Commission’s Data Innovation Initiative.


23 Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting to
Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service
Providers, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2650 (2012).
24 Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Telecommunications Services;
Amendment of Part 43 of the Commission’s Rules, First Report and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 7274 (2011); see also Comments of Verizon and Verizon
Wireless, GC Docket No. 11-199, at 9 (Feb. 8, 2012).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

·

Enhanced Vehicle Radar Technologies.

In response to comments received
in connection with a review of regulations pursuant to Section 610 of the
Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Commission issued an NPRM to modify its rules
regarding vehicle radar technologies to improve collision avoidance and driver
safety.25 The proposed rule modifications provide for more efficient use of
spectrum while enabling the automotive and fixed radar application industries to
develop enhanced safety measures for drivers and the general public.
·

Elimination of Publicly Available Fixed Service Between the United

States and Foreign Points.

To keep pace with industry trends and
technology, the Commission eliminated Part 23 of its rules governing
international point-to-point microwave service to reflect the reality that no U.S.
operators were using the service or intended to use the service.26 The
Commission also revised its Table of Frequency Allocations to allow other fixed
service commercial operators to use the spectrum that was being reserved for
this outmoded service.
·

Wireless E911 Location Accuracy.

The Commission has taken several steps
in the last several years to revise and update its location accuracy requirements
for wireless E911 services to account for new wireless services and improved
technology. In July 2011, the Commission adopted an item that strengthens the
existing E911 location accuracy regime, proposes measures to improve 911
availability and location determination for users of interconnected VoIP services


25 Amendment of Sections 15.35 and 15.253 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Operation of
Radar Systems in the 76-77 GHz Band, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 8107
(2011).
26 Elimination of Part 23 of the Commission’s Rules, Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 541 (2010).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

and seeks additional public input on issues associated with extending 911 calling
and location accuracy requirements to other broadband-based voice services.27
·

Next Generation 911 Services.

In September 2011, the Commission adopted
an NPRM to examine the next generation of 911 emergency services.28 This
NPRM seeks ways to accelerate the development and deployment of next
generation 911 technology that will enable the public to send emergency
communications via text, photos, videos and data and enhance the information
available to first responders for assessing and responding to emergencies.
·

Broadcast Disclosure Requirements.

In April 2012, the Commission
adopted an Order to update the disclosure requirements of broadcast licensees
to reflect the fact that the public receives increasing amounts of information from
online sources.29 The goals of the new requirements are to make information
concerning broadcast service more accessible to the public, to improve dialogue
between broadcast stations and the communities they serve and to reduce
compliance burdens on broadcasters.
·

Interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz Band.

In March 2012, the
Commission adopted an NPRM to promote device interoperability and more
efficient use of spectrum resources.30 The NPRM seeks to examine whether


27 Amending the Definition of Interconnected VoIP Service in Section 9.3 of the Commission’s
Rules, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Third Report and Order and Second Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 10074 (2011).
28 Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications,
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 13615 (2011).
29 Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public
Interest Obligations, Second Report and Order, MM Docket Nos. 00-168, 00-44 (rel. Apr. 27,
2012).
30 Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, WT Docket No. 12-69 (rel. Mar. 21, 2012).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

modifications to the Commission’s technical rules or other measures could
address interference concerns in this band, thereby facilitating the deployment of
advanced telecommunications services.
·

Advanced Medical Technologies.

In November 2011, the Commission
adopted an Order modifying the Medical Device Radiocommunication Service
under Part 95 of the Commission’s rules to permit the use of new wideband
medical implant devices that employ neuromuscular microstimulation techniques
to restore sensation, mobility, and other functions to paralyzed limbs and
organs.31 This Order is part of a larger Commission effort to recognize and
facilitate the significant advances in wireless medical technologies that are
revolutionizing treatment for a wide variety of medical conditions and creating
new health care models to benefit all Americans.
·

Level Probing Radar.

In March 2012, the Commission adopted a FNPRM that
seeks to modify technical rules for the unlicensed operation of level probing
radars (LPRs).32 The proposals would allow the expanded development of a
variety of radar level-measuring products that will benefit the public and industry
and improve the accuracy and reliability of these measuring tools beyond that
which is permitted under the Commission’s current Part 15 rules. To the extent
practicable, these proposals also would harmonize the technical rules for LPR
devices with similar European standards in an effort to improve the
competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers in the global economy.


31 Amendment of Parts 2 and 95 of the Commission’s Rules to Provide Additional Spectrum for
the Medical Device Radiocommunication Service in the 413-457 MHz band, Report and Order,
26 FCC Rcd 16605 (2011).
32 Amendment of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules To Establish Regulations for Tank Level
Probing Radars in the Frequency Band 77-81 GHz, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, ET
Docket No. 10-23 (rel. Mar. 27, 2012).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

ii) Disproportionate or Undue Impact on Particular Entities,

Unintended Negative Effects or Greater Net Benefits if Modified

The Commission regularly undertakes review of regulations to evaluate their impact on
certain entities, such as small businesses, and whether the rules are achieving their
original intent. Other proceedings underway that include a retrospective review of
regulations that may have a disproportionate or undue impact on particular segments of
the population or may no longer be operating as intended include:
·

Foreign Ownership Review Streamlining.

In an NPRM issued in August
2011, the Commission initiated a review of the policies and procedures applicable
to foreign ownership of common carrier radio station licensees and of
aeronautical en route and aeronautical fixed radio station licensees.33 The NPRM
seeks to reduce regulatory costs and burdens imposed on wireless common
carrier and aeronautical applicants, licensees and spectrum lessees; provide
greater transparency and more predictability with respect to the Commission’s
filing requirements and review process; and facilitate investment from new
sources of capital, while continuing to protect important interests related to
national security, law enforcement, foreign policy and trade policy.
·

Pole Attachments Order.

As recommended in the National Broadband Plan, in
April 2011 the Commission issued an Order updating existing rules for pole
attachments to promote reliable, timely and affordable access to physical
infrastructure necessary to deploy broadband services.34 The Order made
several specific revisions to existing rules, including revising the
telecommunications rate formula to minimize differences among competitors,


33 Review of Foreign Ownership Policies for Common Carrier and Aeronautical Radio Licensees
under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934, as Amended, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 11703 (2011).
34 Implementation of Section 224 of the Act, Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration,
26 FCC Rcd 5240 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

adjusting the procedures for filing complaints with the Commission and removing
caps on penalties.
·

Antenna Structures.

In response to comments received in connection with a
review of the Commission’s regulations under Section 11 of the Communications
Act, the Commission issued this NPRM to revise its rules governing the
construction, marking and lighting of antenna structures.35 The proposed
revisions are intended to improve compliance with the requirements and allow
the Commission to enforce them more effectively, thereby more effectively
ensuring the safety of pilots and aircraft passengers. The proposed revisions
also would remove outdated and burdensome requirements without
compromising the Commission’s statutory responsibility to prevent antenna
structures from being hazards to air navigation.
·

Experimental Licensing Policies.

After a comprehensive review of the
Commission’s experimental radio licensing policies, the Commission launched a
proceeding in November 2010 designed to streamline and consolidate the
experimental approval process.36 The Commission also proposed elimination of
the developmental license rules that are largely unused.
·

Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices.

In October 2010, the
Commission issued an Order designed to improve consumers’ experiences with
set-top boxes and encourage the development of a competitive retail market for


35 2004 and 2006 Biennial Regulatory Reviews -- Streamlining and Other Revisions of Parts 1
and 17 of the Commission’s Rules Governing Construction, Marking and Lighting of Antenna
Structures, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 3982 (2010).
36 Promoting Expanded Opportunities for Radio Experimentation and Market Trials Under Part 5
of the Commission’s Rules and Streamlining Other Related Rules, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 16544 (2010).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

such devices.37 This Order included a retrospective examination of the existing
rules on navigation devices and rule changes to address areas in which the
existing rules were not achieving their intended result.
·

Wireless Services Licensing.

In May 2010, the Commission adopted an item
designed to streamline, simplify and clarify various licensing rules for wireless
services.38 Specifically, the item seeks to create consistent requirements for
renewal of licenses and consistent consequences for discontinuance of service
and to clarify construction obligations for spectrum licenses, all with the goal of
simplifying the regulatory process for licensees.
iii) Responses to Requests from Industry and Stakeholders
The FCC regularly responds to requests from industry and the public to engage in
retrospective review of regulations. Some examples of ongoing proceedings to review
rules that were initiated at the behest of outside parties include:
·

International Settlements Policy Reform.

The Commission’s International
Settlements Policy (ISP) is designed to ensure that U.S. telecommunications
carriers pay non-discriminatory rates for termination of international traffic in
foreign countries that are not benchmark compliant. As a result of increased
competition in the international telecommunications market and in response to
requests seeking elimination of the ISP, the Commission determined that in its
current form the ISP may no longer be necessary in the public interest. The


37 Implementation of Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Third Report and
Order and Order on Reconsideration, 25 FCC Rcd 14657 (2010).
38 Amendment of Parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 74, 80, 90, 95, and 101 to Establish Uniform License
Renewal, Discontinuance of Operation, and Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum
Disaggregation Rules and Policies for Certain Wireless Radio Services, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 6996 (2010).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

Commission issued an NPRM in May 2011 to consider whether to modify the
policy and the rules.39
·

Equal Access Scripting/Structural Separation.

In response to a request
from an industry trade association, in March 2012 the Commission sought
comment on the possibility of forbearance from certain regulations applicable to
telecommunications providers that the industry claims may no longer reflect the
current marketplace.40 This includes regulations governing equal access
scripting, which require incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) to inform new
customers seeking local exchange service that they may obtain stand-alone long
distance service from other carriers, and to read the customers a list of carriers
offering long distance service in their area upon request, and rules governing
structural separation, which require independent incumbent LECs to provide long
distance service through a separate affiliate.
·

Signal Boosters.

In April 2011, in response to industry requests, the
Commission released an NPRM seeking to promote the availability of economical
consumer signal boosters that will not harm wireless networks.41
·

Selectable Output Control Waiver.

In May 2010, the Media Bureau issued a
rule waiver in order to permit MVPDs to disable certain audiovisual outputs on
cable set-top boxes, ensuring that copy protection is available for certain high-


39 International Settlements Policy Reform, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 7233
(2011).
40 Pleading Cycle Established for Comments on United States Telecom Association Petition for
Forbearance from Certain Telecommunications Regulations, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 2326
(2012).
41 Amendment of Parts 1, 2, 22, 24, 27, 90 and 95 of the Commission’s Rules to Improve
Wireless Coverage Through the Use of Signal Boosters, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC
Rcd 5490 (2011).
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value content.42 This action responded to a request from the Motion Picture
Association of America, and may spur the development of new subscriber
services and early release of films for home viewing.
·

Aviation Safety.

In response to petitions for rulemaking, the Commission
initiated a proceeding to amend its rules to permit uses of new technology to
promote aviation safety, including airport surface detection equipment for
ground vehicles and audio visual warning systems for antenna structures and
other aviation obstacles.43
·

Retransmission Consent.

In March 2010, a coalition of cable operators and
other parties filed a petition for rulemaking requesting that the Commission
amend and supplement its retransmission consent rules. After examining the
petition, the Commission concluded that due to changes in the video
programming distribution market, an examination of the retransmission consent
rules was appropriate. An NPRM seeking comment on proposals to streamline
and clarify rules for retransmission consent negotiations was released in March
2011.44
·

WCS-SDARS.

In an order released in May 2010, the Commission responded to
licensee requests to modify technical rules for Wireless Communications Service
(WCS) in the 2.3 GHz band and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) to
make available additional spectrum for mobile broadband service while


42 Motion Picture Association of America Petition for Expedited Special Relief; Petition for Waiver
of the Commission’s Prohibition on the Use of Selectable Output Control (47 C.F.R. § 76.1903),
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 4799 (MB 2010).
43 Review of Part 87 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning the Aviation Radio Service, Third
Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 7610 (2010).
44 Amendment of the Commission’s Rules Related to Retransmission Consent, Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 2718 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

protecting adjacent satellite radio, aeronautical mobile telemetry and deep space
network operations.45
·

Tower Siting Shot Clock.

In 2009, the Commission granted in part a request
from CTIA – The Wireless Association for a Declaratory Ruling to define
timeframes for State and local action on wireless facilities siting requests, while
also preserving the authority of States and localities to make the ultimate
determination on local zoning and land use policies.46 The decision promotes the
deployment of broadband and other wireless services by reducing delays in the
construction and improvement of wireless networks.
·

Wireless Backhaul.

Among other actions taken in its Wireless Backhaul
proceeding, in response to a request from the Fixed Wireless Communications
Coalition, the Commission modified its rules governing fixed microwave services
to permit the use of adaptive modulation.47 Adaptive modulation provides
operators with additional flexibility to keep fixed microwave links in operation
during anomalous fading conditions. In addition, in response to requests filed by
various parties, the Commission has sought comment on allowing smaller
antennas in three critical microwave bands. Smaller antennas can promote
broadband deployment by reducing costs in several ways, including by reducing


45 Amendment of Part 27 of the Commission’s Rules to Govern the Operation of Wireless
Communications Services in the 2.3 GHz Band, Report and Order and Second Report and Order,
25 FCC Rcd 11710 (2010).
46 Petition for Declaratory Ruling to Clarify Provisions of Section 332(c)(7)(B) to Ensure Timely
Siting Review and to Preempt Under Section 253 State and Local Ordinances that Classify All
Wireless Siting Proposals as Requiring a Variance, Declaratory Ruling, 24 FCC Rcd 13994
(2009), recon. denied, 25 FCC Rcd 11157 (2010), affirmed sub nom., City of Arlington, Texas v.
FCC, 668 F.3d 229 (5th Cir. 2012).
47 Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary
Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees, Report and Order, Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 11614 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

costs to manufacture, install and maintain. Smaller antennas also allow existing
towers to accommodate more antennas and allow installations at sites that
would not otherwise be able to accommodate larger antennas.
·

AWS-4 Proceeding.

The Commission responded to requests for waivers by
issuing this Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and NPRM that proposes to increase the
Nation’s supply of spectrum for mobile broadband by removing unnecessary
barriers to flexible use of spectrum currently assigned to the Mobile Satellite
Service (MSS) in the 2 GHz band.48 This proposal would carry out a
recommendation in the National Broadband Plan that the Commission enable the
provision of stand-alone terrestrial services in this spectrum. The proposed rules
are designed to provide for flexible use of the spectrum, to encourage innovation
and investment in mobile broadband, and to provide a stable regulatory
environment in which broadband could develop. Additionally, in the NOI, the
Commission sought comment on potential ways to free up additional valuable
spectrum to address the Nation’s growing demand for mobile broadband
spectrum.
·

Detection Radar at Airports.

In response to a petition for rulemaking, the
Commission initiated a proceeding to amend its rules to permit use of the 78-81
GHz band for foreign object debris detection radar at airports, and granted a
waiver to permit such operations pending the outcome of the rulemaking
proceeding.49


48 Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz
Bands, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356;
ET Docket No. 10-142 (rel. Mar. 21, 2012).
49 Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Radiolocation Operations in the 78-81 GHz
Band, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 17476 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

·

Part 90 Flexibility.

The Commission issued an NPRM in March 2012 to review
its rules in 47 C.F.R. Part 90 regarding channel spacing and bandwidth limitations
affecting geographic-based 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service licensees.50
The proposed rule changes would allow licensees the flexibility to deploy new
technologies and to better utilize their licensed spectrum while also protecting
public safety entities using nearby public safety frequencies.
·

Cellular Service Licensing.

In response to a petition for rulemaking, the
Commission initiated a proceeding to transition its cellular service licensing model
from a site-based system to a geographic area-based system through a two
stage auction.51 The proposed rule changes would allow licensees in more
substantially licensed markets increased flexibility to deploy advanced
technologies and more efficiently utilize their licensed spectrum while preserving
for a period the benefits of the current licensing scheme for licensees in less
substantially licensed markets.


50 Improving Spectrum Efficiency Through Flexible Channel Spacing and Bandwidth Utilization
for Economic Area-based 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Licensees, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 2742 (2012).
51 Amendment of Parts 1 and 22 of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to the Cellular Service,
Including Changes in Licensing of Unserved Area, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order, 27
FCC Rcd 1745 (2012).
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IV. Public Participation in Rulemakings

The Commission seeks public input in all rulemaking proceedings, providing the public
with the opportunity to comment via the Internet and postal mail. The Commission
also is testing new ways of engaging a broader audience, such as utilizing Twitter
during workshops to respond to questions from the public and posting links to
rulemakings on Facebook and Twitter to encourage comments from a broader range of
parties. In October 2009 the Commission for the first time considered public comments
on its blog and IdeaScale as part of the record in a rulemaking proceeding.
In 2011, the Commission adopted an Order designed in part to enhance public
participation by broadening the use of docketed proceedings and enhancing online
access.52 The Commission now offers a web form on each rulemaking’s web page that
allows users to comment without having to navigate to the Commission’s electronic
comment filing system. Furthermore, the Commission recently has upgraded the
Internet-based tools available to the public for tracking rulemaking proceedings by
offering features such as RSS feeds and full-text search so the public can stay informed
about new dockets and filings in ongoing proceedings.
The Commission also relies on public workshops and field hearings to obtain public
input into proceedings. The Commission holds such public forums throughout the
country in order to seek a broad range of opinions and experiences to inform the record
of its proceedings. Since 2009 the Commission has held more than 125 workshops and
hearings on myriad FCC proceedings and processes ranging from the National
Broadband Plan to media ownership, auction processes and database reform.


52 Amendment of Certain of the Commission’s Part 1 Rules of Practice and Procedure and Part 0
Rules of Commission Organization, Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 1594 (2011).
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

The Commission works closely with industry representatives and the public to resolve
issues of importance to consumers without the imposition of unduly burdensome or
unnecessary regulation. For example, in October 2010, the Commission released an
NPRM proposing rules that would require wireless service providers to provide usage
alerts and information to assist consumers in avoiding unexpected charges on their bills,
commonly referred to as “bill shock.”53 However, instead of moving to impose rules,
the Commission facilitated the development of an industry code of conduct that will
address consumer bill shock and worked with industry to develop a webpage that will
update consumers on the protections available to them. Such efforts support the
Commission’s goal of advancing the public interest while minimizing regulatory
burdens.54
Since 2009, the Commission has greatly increased its public-private partnership efforts
in other areas. There are 11 active Advisory Committees, made up of representatives
from industry, state, local and Tribal governments and consumers, which advise the
Commission on a number of issues from public safety to accessibility for individuals with
disabilities.55
As the Commission continues to implement its plan for retrospective review of
regulations, the agency will explore ways of expanding public participation in order to
achieve the goals of more efficiently providing the public with information necessary to
participate in the regulatory process and improving the actual results of regulatory
requirements.


53 Empowering Consumers to Avoid Bill Shock; Consumer Information and Disclosure, Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 14625 (2010).
54 See Comments of Verizon and Verizon Wireless, GC Docket No. 11-199, at 5 (Feb. 8, 2012)
(highlighting the Commission’s efforts in this regard).
55 See Reply Comments of National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors,
GC Docket No. 11-199, at 2 (Feb. 22, 2012) (discussing the importance of obtaining input from
state, local and tribal governments in FCC rulemaking proceedings).
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V. Components of Retrospective Regulatory Analysis

A. Metrics for Retrospective Review

As discussed above, the Commission focuses on three primary metrics when evaluating
regulations for retrospective review:
(1) whether a regulation has been affected by changes in technology or new
scientific research or changes in market structure;
(2) whether a regulation has a disproportionate or undue burden on particular
entities, has caused unintended negative effects or could result in greater net
benefits to the public if modified; and
(3) whether a regulation has been subject to frequent requests for waivers by
affected stakeholders or been identified by the public as needing revision.
Other factors that the Commission may take into account in considering candidates for
retrospective review include the need to eliminate overlapping or duplicative
regulations, the need to eliminate conflicts or inconsistencies with other rules and the
need to simplify or clarify regulatory language.
B. Data Availability

The FCC continues to collect data that may be useful in facilitating robust retrospective
analysis. The FCC also consistently reevaluates its data collection efforts to ensure that
they are necessary and that the regulatory burdens are minimized.
In June 2010, the FCC launched its Data Innovation Initiative to modernize and
streamline how it collects, uses, and disseminates data. A new cross-bureau data team
was established and the agency’s first-ever Chief Data Officer was appointed. At the
same time, three of the Commission’s Bureaus issued public notices seeking input on
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

what current data collections should be eliminated, what new ones should be added,
and how existing collections can be improved.56
The Data Innovation Initiative was a direct consequence of the first Commission-wide
survey of its data in 2009. This survey provided an initial analysis of how data sets
mapped to direct statutory requirements, statutorily mandated reporting, Commission
rules, and other uses that support the agency’s mission. This work provided an initial
framework to examine for ongoing retrospective analysis.
As part of the Data Innovation Initiative, the Commission has tentatively identified 25
data collections as candidates for complete or partial elimination. The Commission has
issued two NPRMs that will advance the process of eliminating seven of the identified
collections. The first NPRM, adopted February 8, 2011, proposed the removal of the
narrowband comparably efficient interconnection and open network architecture
reporting requirements that currently apply to the Bell Operating Companies due to a
lack of continuing relevance and utility.57 The second NPRM, adopted May 12, 2011,
continues the process of eliminating or modifying the reports currently collected on
international communications, which will exempt hundreds of small businesses from
having to report.58


56 Pleading Cycle Established for Comments on Review of Media Bureau Data Practices, Public
Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 8236 (MB 2010); Pleading Cycle Established for Comments on Review of
Wireline Competition Bureau Data Practices, Public Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 8213 (WCB 2010);
Pleading Cycle Established for Comments on Review of Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau Data Practices, Public Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 8337 (WTB 2010).
57 Review of Wireline Competition Bureau Data Practices, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC
Rcd 1579 (2011). Since adopting this NPRM, the Wireline Competition Bureau granted the Bell
Operating Companies a temporary waiver of these requirements, which the Commission
established over 20 years ago. Review of Wireline Competition Bureau Data Practices, Order,
26 FCC Rcd 11280 (WCB 2011). No entity supported retaining the requirements and the
Commission is currently reviewing the record to determine whether it should permanently
eliminate them.
58 Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Telecommunications Services,
Amendment of Part 43 of the Commission’s Rules, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd
7274 (2011).
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Also as part of the Data Innovation Initiative, in June 2011, the Commission revised its
rules to require the filing of all tariffs electronically over the Internet using the
Electronic Tariff Filing System (ETFS).59 This change leverages new technology to
reduce burdens on business by replacing the cumbersome and costly system of filing
nondominant carriers’ tariffs on diskette, CD-ROM and paper. It decreases the burden
on carriers and the Commission, increases access to tariffs by the public and interested
parties, and enhances transparency and efficiency of the tariff filing process. The rule
revisions became effective November 17, 2011, and tariff filers were required to file
their initial Base Document and/or Informational Tariff using the ETFS between
November 17, 2011 and January 17, 2012.
The Commission has also initiated a proceeding to reevaluate its registration system,
commonly known as CORES.60 CORES was designed to serve as a central FCC
repository for basic licensee information. CORES also was developed to help the
Commission more effectively forecast, assess and collect regulatory and application
fees, comply with the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, track enforcement of
fines and forfeiture actions, monitor and collect penalties, manage the grant of waivers
and exemptions, and provide information to the public. The NPRM proposed various
changes to make CORES more feature-friendly, eliminate some of the system’s current
limitations, and improve the Commission’s ability to comply with various statutes that
govern debt collection and the collection of personal information by the federal
government. The CORES proceeding is an important part of the Commission’s effort to
use technology to reduce burdens on the public and make it easier to do business with
the FCC.


59 Electronic Tariff Filing System (ETFS), Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 8884 (2011).
60 Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning Practice and Procedure,
Amendment of CORES Registration System, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 17407
(2010).
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In addition, the Commission has worked to find new and innovative ways to collect the
data it needs without increasing the regulatory burden on industry. For example, the
Commission’s broadband test project has provided the Commission with a way to
gather information directly from the public on the state and availability of America’s
wireline and wireless broadband. The broadband test data has provided the
Commission with new data points without burdening industry with additional reporting
requirements.
Furthermore, when the Commission launched its new Accessibility Clearinghouse,61 it
took a more modern approach to data acquisition and management for providing new
information to consumers without increasing the burden on industry. The
Clearinghouse’s initial 2,000 listings, including 200 mobile phones available in North
America and their accessibility features, did not involve any new collections or industry
burdens. Instead of launching new data collections, the Commission worked with the
Mobile Manufacturer Forum to incorporate their existing database of mobile phones into
the Clearinghouse to meet the Commission’s statutory requirements.
Finally, the Commission has worked to make the data it collects more readily accessible
and usable by the general public and developers who may have an idea for a new
application using this data. The Commission continues to expand its conversion of
existing databases to an API-based web services model that not only allows the agency
to update and modernize online filing systems more quickly, but also allows the public
to quickly and automatically consume this information for their own uses and for
repurposing to other stakeholders. The Commission also has expanded its use of
mapping data in connection with USF reform, providing an innovative interactive map
showing areas potentially eligible for Mobility Fund support and providing the same
information in multiple GIS formats for public consumption. This shift allows regulated


61 The FCC’s Accessibility Clearinghouse is available at
http://apps.fcc.gov/accessibilityclearinghouse/.
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entities to more efficiently interact with the agency regarding information that is
important to them. It also liberates Commission data in such a way that the public can
then integrate the data more readily into new services, such as third party tools and
mobile apps, promoting the advancement of telecommunications-centric tools that
consumers and businesses may find useful.
A recent example of the FCC’s ongoing efforts to promote data availability and serve
the public’s information needs was the agency’s launch of My.FCC.gov (“MyFCC”) in
December 2011. MyFCC is a tool designed to let the public create a customized FCC
online experience for quick access to the information it needs. Personalization options
built into MyFCC make it possible to easily create, save and manage a customized page,
choosing from a menu of “widgets” featuring a wide variety of the FCC’s most
frequently used tools and services. Examples include the latest headlines and official
documents, the FCC’s Daily Digest of recent releases, and quick access to forms and
online filings. The FCC also is helping other government agencies make their own
online offerings more accessible and open to everyone. MyFCC is powered by an open-
source module known as the Content API, an innovation other federal agencies can
easily install and use. The Content API makes the contents of the website available to
developers and other interested parties for projects on their own websites.
C. Coordination With Federal Agencies
The FCC coordinates with other federal agencies at all levels, relying on their expertise
and experience in informing Commission proceedings while seeking to avoid duplicative
and overly burdensome regulation. Some examples of agencies and topics for
collaboration include:
·

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

. The Commission has an ongoing
relationship with the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
to collaborate on best practices in consumer complaint intake, processing and
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

service. The FCC and CFPB are working together to monitor issues of mutual
concern in the area of consumer awareness and protection, such as the
increased use of cellular telephones as credit cards.
·

Department of Agriculture

. The Commission works closely with staff at the
Department of Agriculture in considering reforms to the Universal Service Fund
high cost program and low income program. The Department’s Rural Utilities
Service has provided the Commission with project data relating to areas
receiving funding under its Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) for deployment
of mobile wireless broadband.
·

Department of Commerce/National Telecommunications and

Information Administration.

The Commission, as a liaison member of the
Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), works extensively with
NTIA to coordinate all efforts around spectrum management. This has included
coordination with NTIA on the Spectrum Dashboard, which provides a public
means of reviewing how spectrum bands are allocated and for what uses, and
who holds licenses and in what areas.62 The FCC also worked in collaboration
with NTIA to produce the National Broadband Map and continues to help NTIA
update that map as more data becomes available.63 The Commission also
coordinated with NTIA on the AWS-4 NPRM and NOI, including on interference
proposals between non-Federal and Federal spectrum bands. The Commission is
an active participant in the Policy and Plans Steering Group (PPSG) working with
NTIA and other federal agencies to identify spectrum for new broadband
systems. NTIA also has provided the Commission with census tract and project
data relating to proposed areas for Broadband Technology Opportunities


62 The Spectrum Dashboard is available at http://fcc.gov/dashboard.
63 The National Broadband Map is available at http://broadbandmap.gov/. It offers consumers
the ability to search for broadband service providers by address or zip code.
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Program (BTOP) projects to receive grants for deployment of mobile wireless
broadband.
·

Department of Education.

The Commission works with the staff at the
Department of Education in connection with the FCC’s E-rate program.
·

Department of Health and Human Services.

The Commission works closely
with staff at the Department of Health and Human Services in considering
reforms to the Universal Service Fund rural health care program.
·

Department of Justice.

The Commission coordinates with the Department of
Justice in reviewing mergers, acquisitions and transfers of control involving FCC
licensees. The FCC and the DOJ have cooperated in their review of proposed
mergers, including Cumulus Media and Citadel Broadcasting, Comcast
Corporation and NBC Universal, AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG, and,
currently, the SpectrumCo, LLC/Verizon Wireless transaction involving transfer of
wireless licenses. FCC and DOJ staff also work together on implementation
issues under the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 and to identify and prosecute
fraud affecting the FCC’s universal service and telecommunications relay services
programs.
·

Department of State.

The Commission works closely with the Department of
State to negotiate new spectrum sharing agreements with Canada and Mexico to
allow and protect the development of new telecommunications services, as well
as ensure efficient spectrum use along the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders.
The Commission also routinely coordinates wireless and broadcast operations
along the common border, as well as the resolution of cross-border interference
cases, with the Department of State. The Commission also coordinates with the
State Department on applications for communications service between the
United States and Cuba. The Commission coordinates with the State
Department pursuant to Executive Order 10530 on applications for submarine
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

carrier landing licenses filed with the Commission under the Cable Landing
License Act of 1921.
·

Federal Aviation Administration.

The Commission coordinates with staff at
the Federal Aviation Administration on matters affecting aircraft navigation
safety, including the marking and lighting of antenna structures as well as uses
of spectrum for in-flight and airport operations.
·

Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Commission works closely
with FEMA to coordinate operation of emergency networks as the nation
migrates toward an Internet protocol-enabled emergency network and next
generation E911 systems.
·

Federal Railroad Administration.

The Commission works closely with the
staff at the Federal Railroad Administration in its role in implementing positive
train control technologies by freight and passenger/commuter railroad to prevent
collisions pursuant to the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
·

Federal Trade Commission.

The FCC coordinates its efforts with the FTC in
several areas, including privacy issues, enforcement of the agencies’ Do-Not-Call
list, and protection of consumers from unauthorized charges on their telephone
bills.
·

Food and Drug Administration.

The Commission executed a Memorandum of
Understanding in July 2010 with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to
promote collaboration and improve the efficiency of the regulatory processes
applicable to broadband and wireless enabled medical devices. The Commission
and the FDA meet regularly to promote initiatives related to the review and use
of FDA-regulated medical devices that use radiofrequency emissions or otherwise
fall within the jurisdiction of the FCC.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

·

Small Business Administration.

The FCC coordinates with the Small Business
Administration (SBA) when the Commission proposes or adopts rules that contain
size criteria for defining a “small business.” The Commission consults with the
SBA on a regular basis regarding its adoption of small business size standards for
bidding credits offered in its spectrum auctions.
·

Team Telecom.

The Commission regularly coordinates with “Team Telecom,”
an interagency group led by DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the
Department of Homeland Security that reviews communications matters for
national security concerns.
·

United States Coast Guard.

The Commission coordinates with staff of the
United States Coast Guard on matters that affect maritime safety, including
communications equipment, radar, and emergency beacons.
·

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

. The Commission works with staff at the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to develop and administer policies regarding the effects
of communications facilities on endangered species and migratory birds.
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

VI. Rules Currently Under Consideration for

Retrospective Analysis

The Commission will continue its ongoing processes for assessing existing rules that are
in need of retrospective review. In conducting such assessment, the Commission will
focus on the metrics identified above:
(1) regulations that have been affected by changes in technology or new scientific
research or changes in market structure;
(2) regulations that have had a disproportionate or undue burden on particular
entities, have caused unintended negative effects, or may result in greater net
benefits to the public if modified; and
(3) regulations that have been subject to frequent requests for waivers by affected
stakeholders or been identified by the public as needing revision.
Other factors that the Commission may take into account in considering candidates for
retrospective review include the need to eliminate overlapping or duplicative
regulations, the need to eliminate conflicts or inconsistencies with other rules and the
need to simplify or clarify regulatory language.
Rules currently under consideration for retrospective review include:
·

Special Access Reform.

The Commission is evaluating the current state of
competition for special access services, and is in the process of determining what
data on special access facilities, pricing and related competition are necessary to
evaluate whether the current special access rules remain appropriate in light of
competition.
·

Part 25 Rulemaking.

The Commission has conducted meetings with
stakeholders to assist in developing proposals to update and streamline the
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

requirements for earth and space stations. As a result of rapidly changing
technology, the Commission has identified these rules as ripe for comprehensive
revision.
·

ECO Test.

The Commission is examining whether to modify or eliminate the
Effective Competitive Opportunities (ECO) test that applies to Commission review
of international section 214 applications, cable landing license applications, and
notifications of foreign carrier affiliates filed by U.S. international carriers and
cable landing licensees.
·

Part 76 Rulemaking.

A comprehensive review of the Commission’s technical
standards for cable television service is under development in response to
changes in cable television systems technology.
·

Delegated Authority Standardization.

The Commission is contemplating
undertaking a proceeding to review and revise its delegated authority rules, with
the goals of ensuring consistency across the bureaus and offices and promoting
more efficient decision-making processes within the Commission.
·

Dynamic Spectrum Access.

The Commission is examining rule changes that
might remove impediments to the development of dynamic spectrum access
technology, which will allow for more efficient spectrum use.64
·

Video Relay Service (VRS) Reform.

The Commission anticipates continuing
its close look at the structure of the current VRS program to ensure that it is


64 Promoting More Efficient Use of Spectrum Through Dynamic Spectrum Use Technologies,
Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 16632 (2010).
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effective, efficient, and sustainable for the future, and to eliminate waste, fraud
and abuse within the program.65
·

IP-based Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Technological

Standards.

Over the past decade, technological advances have resulted in the
migration of the majority of TRS usage from public switched telephone network-
based services to IP-based services. For several years, the Commission annually
has waived certain longstanding TRS mandatory minimum service standards that
are either technologically irrelevant to IP-based services or are technologically
infeasible by IP-based relay providers.66 The Commission is considering
commencing a proceeding to review which of these rules should permanently be
rendered inapplicable to IP-based TRS.
·

Closed Captioning Standards.

In response to requests from the deaf and
hard of hearing community, and in light of advances in closed captioning
technology, the Commission is considering proposing an Order to improve quality
standards for closed captioning on television.
·

Docket Management.

To further the Commission’s goals of increasing the
efficiency of its decision-making and modernizing the agency’s processes in the
digital age, the Commission amended its organizational rules to facilitate the
termination of dormant dockets.67 As a result of its initial review, the
Commission issued an Order in November 2011 terminating 999 dockets,68 and is


65 Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 17367 (2011).
66 See, e.g., Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals
with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers,
Order, 26 FCC Rcd 9449 (CGB and WCB 2011).
67 Amendment of Certain of the Commission’s Part 1 Rules of Practice and Procedures and Part
0 Rules of Commission Organization, Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 1594 (2011).
68 Termination of Certain Proceedings as Dormant, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 15312 (CGB 2011).
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
40
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

currently considering the termination of an additional 300 dockets.69 The
Commission will continue to review periodically all open dockets with the
objective of terminating those that are inactive. In addition, the Commission is
engaged in a review of the process by which it serves parties to proceedings with
the goal of increasing efficiency and reducing costs, as well as streamlining the
filing of confidential documents by permitting initial electronic filing.
·

Statutory Retrospective Reviews.

The Commission will continue to review
existing regulations as required by statute, including biennial review of
telecommunications regulations pursuant to Section 11 of the Communications
Act, review of rules that have a significant economic impact on a substantial
number of entrepreneurs and other small businesses under Section 610 of the
Regulatory Flexibility Act, quadrennial review of broadcast ownership rules under
Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and review of significant
information collections pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.


69 Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment on Termination of Certain
Proceedings as Dormant, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 1613 (CGB 2012).
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
41
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

VII. Structure Within Institution

The Commission has taken steps to incorporate retrospective review of regulations into
the culture of the agency. These steps include ensuring the transparency of
retrospective reviews, assessing such review independently of the substantive changes
to regulations and incorporating into existing review proceedings a continuing obligation
to review and update this plan periodically.
As an initial matter, the Commission takes steps to ensure the transparency of any
retrospective review of regulations. Notices of proposed rulemaking that include such
retrospective review are published in advance of the review so that the public is
informed of the agency’s plan to conduct a retrospective review. Studies and other
research relied upon in evaluating regulations are published as part of the record, and
outside researchers and other members of the public are encouraged to participate in
the notice and comment process.
Retrospective review of regulations will be assessed independently of review of the
substantive changes to any regulations. Primary responsibility for monitoring the
Commission’s progress on retrospective review of regulations lies in the Commission’s
Office of General Counsel (OGC). OGC’s responsibility for overseeing the regulatory
retrospective review process ensures its independence from other Commission offices
and bureaus responsible for writing and implementing regulations. In addition,
oversight and discussions of the Commission’s retrospective review plans, including
agency priorities, are discussed among agency leadership at weekly Bureau and Office
Chiefs meetings.
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
42
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

The Commission is committed to continuing routine regulatory review as part of its
mission, and plans to revisit and revise this plan on an ongoing basis. As part of its
biennial review of telecommunications regulations under Section 11 of the
Communications Act, the Commission will review the progress made on the proceedings
discussed in this plan and identify additional proceedings contemplated or underway
that should include retrospective review. The Commission’s strategy for revisiting and
revising this plan includes consideration of comments provided by the public on this
plan, as well as suggestions from the public on specific regulations to be considered for
retrospective review.
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
43
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

VIII. Publishing the Retrospective Review Plan

The Preliminary Plan was published on the Commission’s website and the location was
announced through Twitter and Facebook. In addition, Chairman Genachowski
announced the release of the Preliminary Plan at a public event at the Center for
Business and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.70
The Commission accepted comments on the Preliminary Plan via innovation@fcc.gov.
The Commission also issued a Public Notice formally soliciting comments on the
Preliminary Plan on December 8, 2011.71 The Public Notice was published in the
Federal Register on December 28, 2011. 72


70 Chairman Genachowski’s remarks on the Preliminary Plan and the FCC’s regulatory reform
efforts are available at http://www.fcc.gov/events/chairman-genachowskis-remarks-
georgetown-university.
71 Commission Seeks Comment on Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules,
Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 16503 (2011).
72 Commission Seeks Comment on Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules,
76 Fed. Reg. 81462 (2011).
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
44
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules


Appendix

Regulations removed

CFR Section

Effective

(219 as of 5/1/12)
date in FR
Eliminated rules for International Fixed
Part 23
3/25/10
Public Radio Communication Services.
Eliminated restrictions on mobile repeater
90.247(b)
5/14/10
stations for the business radio frequency
90.247(c)
users.
90.267(e)(3)
Eliminated restrictions on WCS service
27.53(a)(6)
9/1/10
27.53(a)(9)
Removed rules to simplify and streamline
54.506
1/3/11
the E-rate program.
54.517
54.522
Revised the Amateur Radio Service rules to 0.191(o)
2/14/11
clarify the rules with respect to amateur
0.392(g)
service vanity call signs, eliminating
licensee confusion.
Eliminated restrictions on Amateur Radio
97.311(d)
4/29/11
Service: eliminated the automatic power
97.5(b)(4)
control provision which has proven to be
virtually impossible to implement, and to
encourage amateur stations to experiment
with spread spectrum communications
technologies.
Eliminated outdated and unnecessary
43.53
7/19/11
reporting requirements related to
43.61 (b)
international telecommunications traffic.
43.61 (c)
63.23 (e)
Rule revisions enabling all tariff filers to file 61.21
7/20/11
tariffs electronically over the Internet.
61.22
61.23
61.32
61.33
61.151
61.152
61.153
61.52(a)
Fairness Doctrine, Personal Attack &
73.1910
9/9/11
Political Editorial Rules.
76.209
76.1612
76.1613
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

Regulations removed

CFR Section

Effective

(219 as of 5/1/12)
date in FR
Broadcast Flag.
73.8000
9/9/11
73.9000-9009
Cable Programming Service Tier
76.950-951
9/9/11
Complaints.
76.953-957
76.960-961
76.1402
76.1605-1606
Part 1, Subpart D Broadcast Applications & 1.502-615
9/9/11
Proceedings (duplicative of rules in Part
73).
Required Commission to review the
64.604(c)(5)(iii)(J) 10/13/11
Interstate Cost Recovery Plan (the TRS
64.2401, removed
Fund) and the TRS Fund administrator’s
[Note]
performance after two years (i.e. in 1995).
Removed note that certain provisions of the
rule are not effective until OMB approval.
OMB approval received August 2000.
Eliminated rule describing the Commission’s 1.120
11/16/11
former “protest” process, which by its
express terms does not apply to
applications filed on or after December 12,
1960.
Eliminated rule sections pertaining to
1.227(b)(6)
11/16/11
comparative hearings for broadcast license 1.229(b)(2)
renewal applications. The enactment of
section 309(k) of the Communications Act
of 1934 eliminated comparative broadcast
hearings for license renewal applicants.
Eliminated rule sections pertaining to
1.325(c)
11/16/11
comparative hearings involving applicants
for new commercial broadcast facilities and
calling for the production of a Standardized
Integration Statement and other
information pertaining to the Commission’s
former integration standard and other
broadcast comparative hearing criteria.
Under §309(j), the Commission no longer
has authority to conduct comparative
hearings for new commercial broadcast
facilities and instead awards licenses for
new broadcast service using competitive
bidding.
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
46
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

Regulations removed

CFR Section

Effective

(219 as of 5/1/12)
date in FR
Eliminated rule requiring common carriers
1.788
11/16/11
to file reports regarding pensions and
benefits and requiring compliance with a
regulation in Part 43 of the rules that the
Commission has eliminated.
Eliminated requirement that common
1.805
11/16/11
carriers engaged in public radio service
operations file reports in conformance with
Part 23, which the Commission has
eliminated.
Eliminated requirements that carriers
1.811
11/16/11
engaged in domestic public radio services
report and file documents in accordance
with Part 21, which has been eliminated.
Eliminated rules regarding random selection 1.821
11/16/11
procedures for Multichannel Multipoint
1.822
Distribution Service (MMDS). The
1.824
Commission no longer has authority to use
random selection for MMDS or its successor
service, Broadband Radio Service.
Eliminated rule that is duplicative of 1.2002 1.2003
11/16/11
(Anti Drug Abuse Certification).
Eliminated rules implementing PUHCA 1935, 1.5000
11/16/11
which was repealed and replaced with
1.5001
Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005. 1.5002
1.5003
1.5004
1.5005
1.5006
1.5007
Eliminated rule regarding complaints filed
1.6000
11/16/11
by television stations alleging that a satellite 1.6001
carrier has retransmitted their signals in
1.6002
violation of Section 325(b)(1) of the
1.6003
Communications Act. No complaints may
1.6004
be filed under this subpart after December
1.6005
31, 2001 and no complaints filed on or
1.6006
before that date are pending.
1.6007
1.6008
1.6009
1.6010
1.6011
1.6012
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

Regulations removed

CFR Section

Effective

(219 as of 5/1/12)
date in FR
Eliminated rule establishing backup power
12.2
Adopted 11/1/11
requirements for communications providers.
pending FR
This rule never took effect.
Publication
Eliminated rule providing that UHF
90.621(d)
Adopted 11/1/11
television translators on Channels 70 to 83
pending FR
must operate on a secondary basis to land
Publication
mobile operations in the 800 MHz band and
will not be protected from such operations.
There are no UHF television translators
operating on Channels 70 to 83, and the
Commission has eliminated the TV
allocation from these channels.
Eliminated rule allocating specified channels 90.621(h)
Adopted 11/1/11
for Basic Exchange Telecommunication
pending FR
Radio Service (BETRS). FCC removed the
Publication
allocation in 2005.
Eliminated rules that provided a framework 90.699(a)
Adopted 11/1/11
for the relocation of incumbent site-based
90.699(b)
pending FR
licensees in the upper 200 channels of the
90.699(c)
Publication
800 MHz Band by incoming geographically-
90.699(e)
based (EA) licensees.
90.699(f)
These provisions were a component of the
1995 reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band
from site-based to geographic-based
service that has since been completed.
Removed rules to reform and modernize
36.602
12/29/11
the universal service and intercarrier
51.707
compensation systems.
51.717
54.303
54.311
54.316
Eliminated Part 2, Subpart N, FCC
2.1501-2.1517
2/1/12
procedure for testing Class A, B and S
Emergency Position Indicating
Radiobeacons (EPIRBs).
Eliminated rules listing the dates by which
15.37(a)
2/1/12
intentional radiators, unintentional
15.37(b)
radiators, radio receivers and equipment
15.37(c)
operating in the 902-905 MHz band had to
15.37(d)
comply with the rules adopted in the 1989
revision to Part 15.
15.249(f)
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
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Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

Regulations removed

CFR Section

Effective

(219 as of 5/1/12)
date in FR
Eliminated rule specifying dates by which
15.37(e)
2/1/12
cordless telephones must comply with the
requirements of § 15.214(d). Manufacture
of cordless telephones that did not comply
with these requirements had to cease on or
before September 11, 1991.
Required scanning receivers manufactured
15.37(f)
2/1/12
or imported after April 26, 1994 to comply
with the provisions of § 15.121(a)(1).
Effectively superseded by § 15.37(h), which
requires scanning receivers manufactured
or imported after October 25, 1999 to
comply with a revised § 15.121.
Announces the date that authorization
15.37(g)
2/1/12
under either the DoC or certification
procedure became mandatory for CPU
computer boards and related equipment.
Prohibited the marketing of TV bands
15.37(n)
2/1/12
devices before the planned February 18,
2009 digital television transition date.
Required television receivers and related
15.124
2/1/12
devices manufactured between April 1,
2009 and June 30, 2009 to include
consumer information about the DTV
transition.
Lists the dates by which specific types of
18.123
2/1/12
Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM)
equipment must comply with limits on radio
frequency emissions conducted from a
device onto the AC power lines.
Removed rules to reform and begin to
54.209
4/2/12
modernize the Universal Service Fund’s
54.411
Lifeline program.
54.415
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
49
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

Re:
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules, GC Docket No. 11-199
I am pleased that the Commission has completed work on its Final Plan for Retrospective
Analysis of Existing Rules. It is important for us to review regularly the rules already on the
books and determine whether they should be modified or eliminated in light of changing market
and/or technological conditions. In that vein, I look forward to working with my colleagues in
examining whether the rules listed in Section VI of the Final Plan should be modified or
repealed. It is my hope that we will take prompt action with respect to many of these
proceedings.
I also am looking forward to the Commission’s 2012 Biennial Review. Section 11 of the
Communications Act requires the Commission to review every two years all regulations that
apply to the operations or activities of telecommunications service providers and determine
whether those regulations are “no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of
meaningful economic competition between providers of such service.” Following this review,
the Commission is then required “to repeal or modify any regulation it determines to be no
longer necessary in the public interest.” In light of the importance of this comprehensive
retrospective analysis, I believe that the 2012 Biennial Review should take the form of
Commission-level action rather than Bureau-level recommendations.
The Federal Communications Commission | May 18, 2012
50
Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

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