The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and operates as an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress. The commission is committed to being a responsive, efficient and effective agency capable of facing the technological and economic opportunities of the new millennium. In its work, the agency seeks to capitalize on its competencies in:
- Promoting competition, innovation, and investment in broadband services and facilities;
- Supporting the nation’s economy by ensuring an appropriate competitive framework for the unfolding of the communications revolution;
- Encouraging the highest and best use of spectrum domestically and internationally;
- Revising media regulations so that new technologies flourish alongside diversity and localism;
- Providing leadership in strengthening the defense of the nation’s communications infrastructure.
Leadership and Organization
The agency is directed by five commissioners who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The president also selects one of the commissioners to serve as chairman. Only three commissioners can be of the same political party at any given time and none can have a financial interest in any commission-related business. All commissioners, including the chairman, have five-year terms, except when filling an unexpired term. The commission is organized into bureaus and offices, based on function. Bureau and Office staff regularly join forces and share expertise to fulfill responsibilities such as:
- Developing and implementing regulatory programs;
- Processing applications for licenses and other filings;
- Encouraging the development of innovative services;
- Conducting investigations and analyzing complaints;
- Public safety and homeland security.
To better understand the organizational structure of the FCC and its Bureaus and Offices, visit the Organizational Charts of the FCC.
Rules and Rulemakings
In 1972 Congress passed the Federal Advisory Committee Act to ensure that advice by the various advisory committees formed over the years is objective and accessible to the public. The Act put in place a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating these committees.