FCC Investigating Possible Reforms to Technical Regulations

Technological Advisory Council seeks comments September 1, 2017

WASHINGTON—An investigation has been launched by the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council into FCC technical regulations and the processes used to develop them to see if decreased regulatory burden can be implemented. The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology issued a public notice about the investigation on Thursday, Aug. 31, and is seeking comments about technical regulations and the regulatory process for adopting and updating them.

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The TAC is looking to identify technical rules that may be obsolete or appropriate for change dependent on current communication technologies. There are seven areas that the TAC is looking for comments on:

      1.       Regulations that should be removed because they have become outdated, inhibit innovation or would be better handled by the involved parties. What would replace such regulations if they are removed?

      2.       Regulations that should be retained because they promote competition, protect incumbents from interference, regulate unlicensed frequencies, are necessary to comply with international agreements, or support the purpose of the FCC.

      3.       Regulations that should be modified because technical reporting requirements are too burdensome, data contained in the reports are no longer used, or existing regulation does not fully apply to new technology. If the technical requirements are too burdensome, should the FCC automate existing reporting or leverage other data or reporting from third parties or organizations?

      4.       Process to resolve competing interests: Is there a better way to media conflicts between different parties, perhaps that is quicker and does not require as many resources from interested parties? Is there potential for a ‘body’ other than the FCC to host this role and what are the legal impediments, if any, to delegating certain conflict mediations to other parties? How would a new process work?

      5.       Regulations that can be combined: What general principles that apply to all forms of a type of communication?

      6.       How should the FCC approach coordination between regulations and standards bodies or industry consortia? Should regulations be written by leveraging industry standards? How should the regulatory process (which must be available to all parts of our society) be tied to the standards update process? How would the requirement for public availability of documents related to federal rules be met when referenced standards are copyrighted? How can regular changes to standards upon which regulations are based be propagated to the rule making processes that are required when regulations are changed?

      7.       How can FCC work processes be best improved? Increasing use is made of external multi-stakeholder groups to develop complex technical requirements, systems, and procedures necessary to implement Commission service rules. How can the Commission leverage these efforts to accelerate the introduction of new technologies and services?

Those interested in filing comments may do so on any or all of the areas of focus by using either the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System or by filing paper copies. The deadline for submitting comments is going to be Oct. 30.

Read the complete public notice here.

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