Most rulemaking proceedings at the Federal Communications Commission start either because Congress enacts a new telecommunications law or because an outside party files a Petition for Rulemaking to suggest new rules or changes to existing rules.

A rulemaking proceeding generally starts with one of the following:

  • A Notice of Inquiry (NOI) will ask the public to comment on specific questions about an issue. The responses will help the FCC to determine if further action by the Commission is warranted.
  • A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will propose new rules or changes to existing rules and seek comments on the proposals.
  • If additional information is needed from the public, the FCC may issue a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). An NOI is not required for an NPRM to be issued.

Issuance of an NOI, NPRM or FNPRM is announced in an official document called a Public Notice, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Public Notices include a description of the issue, the Docket Number, and comment filing instructions including the deadline for comment submission.

After analyzing all the comments filed in a proceeding, the Commission may issue Report and Order (R&O) which will either adopt new rules, change existing rules, or state that no rule changes will be made at this time. Summaries of R&Os may be found in the Federal Register.

If you file a Petition for Rulemaking and are not satisfied with the R&O adopted by the Commission, you may file a Petition for Reconsideration within 30 days from the date the R&O appears in the Federal Register. In response to a Petition for Reconsideration, the Commission may issue a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) which either amends the R&O or states that the R&O will not be changed.