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Industry: Government
Founded: 1934
Headquarters: 445 12th Street SW,
Washington, DC 20554
Country: USA
Facebook: FCC Facebook
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@fcc
Key People
Robert McDowell, Commissioner

FCC is the abbreviation for Federal Communications Commission. It is an independent government agency of the United States established under the Communications Act of 1934. The FCC has been given the responsibility to monitor the interstate and international communications which include television radio, satellite, wire and cable. The jurisdiction of the FCC includes all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, as well as areas under US possession.[1]

The FCC Commissioner, Robert McDowell, has come out in support of the multi-stakeholder model of ICANN and current Internet governance, and has warned against governments being given ultimate control over the Internet.[2] An op-ed, published in February, 2012, in the Wall Street Journal, in which he takes a hard-line and oppositional view to current efforts to hand over Internet governance to the U.N. or its ITU can be read here. He stepped up his rhetoric later that month, claiming that giving ICANN's authority to the U.N. or its ITU would not only jeopardize a free and open Internet with limited bureaucratic involvement, but that it could undermine the Internet's overall functionality.[3]

On December 2nd, 2012, Julius Genachowski of the FCC, Lawrence E. Strickling of NTIA, and Phillip L. Verveer of the State Department issued a statement supporting ICANN: "The Internet’s decentralized, multistakeholder processes enable us all to benefit from the engagement of all interested parties. By encouraging the participation of industry, civil society, technical and academic experts, and governments from around the globe, multistakeholder processes result in broader and more creative problem solving. This is essential when dealing with the Internet, which thrives through the cooperation of many different parties... Our commitment to the multistakeholder model is based on the fact that transparency, inclusion and participation are the 21st century standards governing discussions related to modern communications. This is a view shared by many around the world and was most recently reiterated by a statement of civil society members and groups from around the world who participated in the “Best Bits” pre-Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting held earlier this month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The U.S. Government wishes to lend its support to the spirit of the recommendations contained in the statement."[4]


The FCC was created by an act of Congress passed on 19 June 1934. It was created during US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘The New Deal’ era and was granted a large latitude to establish a fast, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service. The main motive behind formation of the FCC was to merge the administrative responsibilities of regulating broadcasting and wired communications into one single agency. Operation of the FCC started on 11 July 1934 when seven commissioners and 233 federal employees started the task of merging procedures and rules from several governmental agencies such as the Interstate Commerce Commission, Federal Radio Commission and the Postmaster General into a single agency. Today, the FCC employs approximately 1900 people and has comprehensive responsibilities in various fields of communication technologies such as microwave, satellite and private radio communications. [5]


The FCC is governed by five Commissioners. These commissioners are appointed directly by the President and are ratified by the Senate. These commissioners are mostly appointed for 5-year terms unless there is a filling of an unexpired term. The President also elects the Chairperson of the FCC from one of these commissioners. The Chairperson is also known as the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission and is responsible in delegating administrative and management responsibilities to the Managing Director of the Commission. All the five Commissioners are assigned with the task of supervising all the activities of the FCC, which also include delegating responsibilities to the various staff units and Bureaus of FCC.[6]


The main role of FCC is to regulate the various mediums of communication. Additionally, the FCC also carries out other assorted functions, including:

  • Enforcing and maintaining laws related to Communications, such as the Communications Act.
  • Advise the US commission on various issues related to communication businesses.
  • Represent the US commission in various international matters pertaining to communications and satellite.
  • Frame policies concerning the communication businesses.
  • Preside over the legal matters pertaining to communication.
  • Frame policies related to the functioning of telephone companies and VoIP service providers.[7]

Strategic plan (2009-2014)

The strategic plan of FCC for 2009-2014 focuses mainly on making communication services accessible to the general public. It is aimed towards providing communications products and services to consumers and businesses on a timely basis and at reasonable costs.[8]

Strategic goals

FCC has set some strategic goals, which it seeks to achieve in various sectors. Some of the strategic goals set by FCC include:[9]

  1. Broadband: All Americans should have easy access to reliable and robust broadband products and services at affordable rates. The FCC wants to frame policies in such a way that they help promote competition, technological neutrality, and investment so that broadband service providers are able to develop affordable products and services.
  2. Spectrum: Spectrum is a band of electromagnetic frequencies used for communication of sound, video and data.[10] The FCC wants to ensure that the non-federal spectrum is being used effectively and efficiently domestically as well internationally. It also wants to promote growth and proper deployment of efficient and sophisticated communication technologies.
  3. Media: The FCC also wants to create some strategic media regulations, which will increase competition and ensure diversity in the media. It also wants to facilitate the digital modes of delivery in the media.
  4. Competition: The FCC also wants to ensure that there is adequate competition in the provision of communications services, both nationally as well as internationally, so that it supports the nation’s economy. The FCC wants to foster a competitive framework for communications services so that it encourages innovation and provides American consumers with meaningful, reliable and affordable communications services.
  5. Public Safety and Homeland Security: The FCC also wants to make sure that Americans have easy access to all communications, even in the times of emergencies and crises, so that there is adequate public safety, defense, health and reliable infrastructure as and when required by the people of America. The FCC wants to make the communications infrastructure of America highly reliable, redundant, interoperable and rapidly restorable.
  6. Modernize the FCC: The FCC works towards making itself a highly innovative, adaptive and productive organization whose main focus would be on providing huge benefits from effective systems to its staff, stakeholders, processes, organizational culture, processes and management.