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Streamlining the Review Process for Wireless Licenses

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Released: August 9, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

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).



August 9, 2011
Thomas Sullivan: (202) 418-0411

FCC Continues Regulatory Reform Efforts: Proposes Streamlining Review Process for Foreign

Ownership in U.S. Companies Holding Wireless Licenses

Washington, D.C. As part of its ongoing regulatory reform efforts, the Federal Communications
Commission today adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to reduce regulatory burdens and
streamline the foreign ownership review process for U.S. companies with common carrier radio licenses
(e.g., wireless phone companies) and certain aeronautical radio licenses. The proposals would ensure that the
Commission continues to receive the information it needs to serve the public interest while reducing the
number of required filings by more than 70%. Today's NPRM does not address foreign ownership of
broadcast licensees.
Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act establishes a 25 percent benchmark for foreign investment in
U.S. companies that directly or indirectly control a U.S. broadcast, common carrier, or aeronautical radio
station licensee. It also grants the Commission discretion to allow higher levels of foreign ownership unless
such ownership is inconsistent with the public interest.
Based on the Commission's extensive experience with foreign ownership reviews over the past several years,
the NPRM seeks comment on proposed measures to revise and simplify the process for reviewing requests
for higher levels of foreign ownership in wireless common carrier and aeronautical licensees, and spectrum
lessees. The proposed changes would provide greater transparency and more predictability as to what
information the Commission needs to carry out its statutory duties under the Act, and would reduce costs for
U.S. wireless carriers seeking approval of foreign ownership above the 25 percent benchmark.
Earlier today, Ruth Milkman, Special Counsel to the Chairman for Innovation in Government, published a
blog post regarding the Commission's regulatory reform efforts:
Action by the Commission August 9, 2011, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 11-121). Chairman
Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and Clyburn. Separate statements issued by Chairman
Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and Clyburn.
Docket No.: IB Docket No. 11-133
For further information, contact Thomas Sullivan, International Bureau at (202) 418-0411; (202) 418-0431
(TTY); email:
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