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Request for Study Examining the Critical Information Needs

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Released: February 6, 2012


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

Released: February 6, 2012

DA: 12-156





BO Docket No. 12-30

Comment Date: February 27, 2012

Today, the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) and the Media
Bureau (Bureau) issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for a study to examine the critical
information needs of the American public so that the Commission can more effectively meet its
statutory and judicially mandated obligations. A copy of the RFQ will be available at the
Federal Business Opportunities website, located at A copy of the
RFQ, including the Statement of Work, will also be posted at
communications-business-opportunities.1 Separately, OCBO and the Bureau also are soliciting
suggestions for additional studies, such suggestions to be submitted not later than February 27,
Section 257 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, mandates that the
Commission review and report to Congress on (1) efforts to identify and eliminate regulatory
barriers to market entry in the provision and ownership of telecommunications services and
information services, or in the provision of parts or services to providers of telecommunications
services and information services by entrepreneurs and other small businesses and (2) proposals
to eliminate statutory barriers to market entry by those entities, consistent with the public
interest, convenience, and necessity.2

1 In the event of a conflict between this notice and the RFQ, the RFQ shall take precedence. In addition, for
purposes of government procurements, should be used as the official source for all documents
regarding this procurement, not the FCC’s website.
2 47 U.S.C. § 257 (c). Subsection (c) requires periodic review and reporting by the Commission every three years.
The Commission’s last report covered years 2006 through 2009, and was adopted and released in March, 2011. See
Section 257 Triennial Report to Congress, Identifying and Eliminating Market Entry Barriers for Entrepreneurs and
Other Small Businesses
, 26 FCC Rcd 2909 (2011).

Upon this backdrop, OCBO and the Bureau are now commissioning a study to examine:
· how Americans meet their critical information needs;
· how the media ecosystem operates to address critical information needs; and
what barriers exist in providing content and services to address critical
information needs.
In order to assess whether government action is needed to ensure that the information
needs of all Americans, including women and minorities, are being addressed, to determine the
relationship, if any, between meeting critical information needs, and the available opportunities
for all Americans to participate in the communications industries, it is first necessary to examine
what prior research has been conducted with regard to how the public acquires critical
information, how the media ecosystem operates to provide critical information, and what barriers
exist to participation.
The report, to be delivered at the conclusion of the study, will be a literature review,
summarizing and discussing the published research, analysis, and information on how Americans
meet their critical information needs. It will also examine how the media ecosystem operates to
address critical information needs and what barriers exist in providing content and services to
address those needs. Finally, the study will provide an analysis of the relevant published
materials and will include recommendations for definitions and performance metrics, including
an explicit definition for “critical information needs.”

Additional Guidance on Preparing Responses to the RFQ

. The reference number for
this procurement is FCC12Q0009. The solicitation documents posted at
have instructions regarding proposal submission, other guidance and contact information.

Solicitation of Suggestions for Additional Studies

. By this Public Notice, OCBO and
the Bureau also solicit suggestions for additional studies in the 257 proceeding. We invite
parties to submit specific descriptions of proposed studies, including well-defined performance
metrics that relate to one or more of the following: (1) how Americans meet their critical
information needs; (2) how the media ecosystem operates to address critical information needs;
and (3) what barriers exist in providing content and services to address critical information
needs. The deadline to file suggestions for studies is February 27, 2012. The Commission will
not be awarding any contracts on the basis of any suggestions received. Instead, after evaluating
responses to this Public Notice, the Commission may or may not choose to issue additional
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the
first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).


Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing
the ECFS:
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of
each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this
proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or
rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or
by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the
Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s
Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-
A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All
hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any
envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and
Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to
445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

Ex Parte Status

The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-
disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.3 Persons making ex
presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing
any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline
applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are
reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2)
summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation
consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the
presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may
provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can
be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to
Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and

3 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.

must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for
which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte
presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments
thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding,
and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in
this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.
Documents will be available for public inspection and copying during business hours at
the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, Room CY-A257, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554. The documents may also be purchased from BCPI, telephone (202)
488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY (202) 488-5562, e-mail
Press inquiries should be directed to Janice Wise, at (202) 418-8165 or via email at

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