News media Information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order
constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
February 6, 2012
Dave Grimaldi (202) 418-2100
FCC COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN
ON THE RELEASE OF
A REQUEST FOR QUOTATION FOR STUDY EXAMINING THE CRITICAL
INFORMATION NEEDS OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC
“I am extremely pleased with today’s announcement, as it falls squarely within the
Commission’s duty to comply with the directives of Section 257 and in reporting about the
actions it has taken to meet those directives.
As directed by Congress, under Section 257 of the Communications Act of 1934, the
Commission must identify and eliminate market entry barriers for small businesses and promote
policies favoring “a diversity of media voices, vigorous economic competition, technological
advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience and necessity.”
We are in need of more detail in describing how the Commission’s actions have fulfilled
those purposes, and set forth, where appropriate, specific examples and data that support the
conclusions found in past FCC reports.
We have been active in meeting our obligations under Section 257, through workshops
that connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with financial experts who make daily decisions
about capital resources. We have encouraged public-private partnerships to help small
businesses adopt broadband, including increasing digital literacy and e-commerce skills as
recommended in the National Broadband Plan. We have also produced an online guide to help
inform small business owners about what informational assistance the Commission has available
for new entrants.
But through the Public Notice that we release today, the FCC is further demonstrating its
commitment to gather data and fund research and analysis to better understand how the
Commission's policies promote the public interest. The Commission has long understood that
diverse participation in the communications industry and access to diverse and antagonistic
sources of information falls under that charge, and we are especially interested in whether the
critical information needs of all Americans are being met. Making certain that our policies
promote access to information about how to respond to emergencies and health care threats as
well as other critical information must be an absolute priority of this Commission.
Further, does limited participation in the communications industry by women and
minorities have an impact on whether all Americans have their critical information needs met?
This Commission is committed to answering this question.
With today’s Public Notice, this agency takes another important step towards examining
the current critical information needs of all Americans. This type of inquiry should have been a
fundamental aspect of the Federal Communications Commission’s policy strategy all along. To
properly meet its obligations under Section 257 and the other provisions of the Communications
Act, which require the agency to adopt rules that serve the public interest, the Commission must,
at a minimum, know if the current structure of the communications industry is adequately
providing Americans with the information they need to secure their health and welfare. If the
infrastructure is not adequately informing communities about an imminent natural disaster, a
terror threat, a widespread health threat, or another public hazard, it is not adequately serving the
public interest. The Commission must also try to identify any barriers there are to a
community’s receipt of critical information and possible ways to eliminate those barriers. I
commend Chairman Genachowski for his support of these studies. I hope this Public Notice will
attract the best research possible on this important issue.
- FCC -