You are here: > Resources > Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Self Description

February 2002: "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions."

Third-Party Descriptions

June 2016: 'Here’s Barr: “The FCC’s rule is nonsensical. They’re saying you can’t have exclusive agreements, but, at the same time, a landlord gets to say yes or no to anyone coming into the building, and you have to have the landlord’s permission. So, a landlord certainly can sign an agreement with one company and say ‘No’ to everybody else, thereby creating an exclusive agreement. So that’s what they do. They’re under no obligation to let everyone in, so they’ll extract a rent payment from one provider.”'

August 2014: "The FCC is still working through the public comments about their current net neutrality proposal, and it will be many months still before any final rule is made. But one industry veteran, with over four decades of experience in defining the digital world, suggests that maybe we want to slow down and rethink this a bit. What if, he suggests, true net neutrality isn’t actually everything we think it’s cracked up to be?"

July 2013: "So in Google’s version of net neutrality, the FCC was the right to force Apple to let iPhone users connect to their home servers, but the FCC has no right to force Google to let its broadband subscribers run a home server."

November 2012: In 1985, the conservative organization Fairness in Media, backed by Senator Jesse Helms, tried to arrange a takeover of CBS and “become Dan Rather’s boss.” It failed, but two years later conservatives set the stage for an even bigger triumph. For decades, radio and television broadcasters had been required to present multiple viewpoints on contentious public debates on the grounds that they were stewards of the public airwaves. But in 1987, members appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Federal Communications Commission abolished this “fairness doctrine.”'

February 2012: "Under the new rules, telemarketers would have to get permission in writing before placing an automated call to a consumer. Currently, companies that have an established business relationship with a particular consumer can call them without permission. For example, the FCC official said, a bank could robocall one of its checking account customers to try and sell them insurance. These new rules stop that without written permission."

February 2011: "WWOR-TV is the subject of an unusual investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, which is looking into charges that the station’s owner, the News Corporation, misrepresented the station’s number of employees and amount of programming. The investigation is gaining attention in part because WWOR is a rarity: it is effectively the only big commercial station licensed to the state of New Jersey."

December 2010: 'At the commission meeting in Washington, Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, said the steps were historic. “For the first time,” he said, “we’ll have enforceable rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness.”'

June 2010: "Just kidding. More seriously, the Federal Communications Commission took note of the European Union’s action and decided this year to study whether bill shock rules would be a good idea in this country. Yes, appears to be the answer. A survey conducted by the commission found that one in six cellphone users — about 30 million people — had experienced bill shock at least once. Nearly a quarter of those said the shock involved sums greater than $100."

May 2010: 'The FCC has given Hollywood permission to activate the "Selective Output Control" technologies in your set-top box. These are hidden flags that allow the MPAA to deactivate parts of your home theater depending on what you're watching. And it sucks. As Dan Gillmor notes, "Fans of old TV science fiction will remember the Outer Limits. Given Hollywood's victory today at the FCC -- they'll be able to reach over the lines and disable functions on your TV -- the intro to the show takes on modern relevance."'

May 2010: "The Federal Communications Commission ordered Comcast to stop the blocking. Comcast challenged the ruling. On April 6, an appeals court in Washington sided with the operator, saying the F.C.C. could not tell Comcast how to manage its network."

October 2009: 'A boatload of smaller telcos and bigger broadband users are cheering yet another probe launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday—this one on the impact of "special access" rates on broadband availability in general.'

September 2009: 'Indeed, in November of 2003, our own Ofcom equivalent, the Federal Communications Commission, tried to push through a bonafide "broadcast flag" mandate for device makers. All gadgets able to pick up digital TV streams would have had to abide by codes embedded into video content signaling that a program was copyright protected, the FCC ordered, limiting the ability of consumers to copy and record. But an appeals court ruled in May of 2005 that Congress never gave the agency the authority to act on the question, and it shut the FCC's order down.'

August 2009: 'The United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has just thrown out the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rule limiting each cable provider to no more than 30 percent of the overall video marketplace. In the words of the justices (PDF), the rule was "arbitrary and capricious," and the FCC's "dereliction in this case is particularly egregious."'

July 2009: "Other programs are rejected because they duplicate (or potentially compete with) Apple's iPhone software. On July 31 the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to Apple questioning its rejection of Google Voice, a telephony application. Many analysts believe the service was blocked because it could have snatched revenue from Apple's exclusive wireless service provider, AT&T (T), by providing cheap call rates over Google's (GOOG) lines. AT&T denies any involvement in the move. Among the FCC's questions: Why was Google Voice rejected? What are the standards for acceptance and rejection?"

July 2009: 'The Federal Communications Commission is examining a recent decision by Apple to reject an iPhone application developed by Google. On Friday, the commission sent letters to executives at Apple, Google and AT&T, which is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the United States, saying it was “interested in a more complete understanding of this situation.”'

July 2009: "Kohl called for reforms at the FCC that would force the largest carriers to offer partnerships with smaller service providers on data roaming, so that regional-carrier customers can get smartphone service around the country. He also called for the agency to scrutinize the exclusive deals between network carriers and phone makers such as Apple and Research in Motion, which sells the BlackBerry. Smaller carriers say such deals hamper their business as customers look for the latest and fastest phones, which only run on the biggest networks."

July 2009: "A bill introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) and backed by Maynard would allow local and state governments to seek jamming authority from the Federal Communications Commission on a prison-by-prison basis. The bill, the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009, has the support of Maryland's senior U.S. senator, Barbara A. Mikulski (D), and a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee is likely this month."

July 2009: "This is not the first time the PPM system has come under scrutiny. In May, the FCC initiated an inquiry, inviting comments and complaints about the new ratings system. The deadline for submitting comments is today; as of yesterday afternoon, 54 comments had been filed."

April 2009: 'The Supreme Court’s last major case concerning broadcast indecency, F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation in 1978, upheld the commission’s determination that George Carlin’s classic “seven dirty words” monologue, with its deliberate, repetitive and creative use of vulgarities, was indecent. But the court left open the question of whether the use of “an occasional expletive” could be punished.'

April 2009: "For years the cable business had acted like a typical monopoly, providing less-than- ideal customer service, skyrocketing prices, and little choice of service. Then along came the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which opened the door for competition and promised weary cable customers relief at last. Too bad that relief never came. Nearly four years after the bill was passed, a mere 286 of the 30,000 U.S. cable markets were being served by more than one provider, according to the Federal Communications Commission. And in the FCC’s most recent report, in 2005, not much had changed; only 294 out of about 33,000 U.S. cable markets were served by more than one provider—meaning that for all the effort to create change, few customers today are being served by the smaller providers that generally offer better deals."

November 2008: 'The Supreme Court appeared far from a consensus Tuesday on whether the Federal Communication Commission's crackdown on broadcasters who allow "fleeting expletives" to reach the airwaves should continue.'

October 2008: "ISPs also have run into public and government opposition just for slowing down, not blocking, some Internet traffic. The Federal Communications Commission ruled in August, on a 3-2 vote, that Comcast's limiting of BitTorrent traffic was illegal. Comcast said it was merely trying to keep the flood of peer-to-peer file sharing from slowing down the Internet for everyone else. As for CopyRouter, the company's manager said it would not slow down Internet traffic noticeably, because it's not inspecting the contents of files, merely comparing their hash values to a list, which can be done quickly."

October 2008: 'Several lawmakers and professional sports organizations are urging the Federal Communications Commission to delay a vote on opening spectrum known as "white spaces" for unlicensed use.'

August 2008: "And certainly any ISP thinking about looking at what its users are doing has got to be worried given that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is on a roll -- taking on ISPs that want to or have watched what their customers do online in order to serve them targeted ads. That roll is reportedly heading towards a long-fabled online privacy omnibus bill. Add to that, this month's unprecedented decision by the Federal Communications Commission to slap down Comcast for its secret and deceptive interference with file sharing traffic."

July 2008: "Comcast is poised for legal showdown with the Federal Communications Commission as the agency moves to fine the cable giant for blocking file-sharing traffic on its Web network."

July 2008: 'In a decision that clears CBS of any wrongdoing for airing the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that featured Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” a federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission levied against the station, calling the fine arbitrary and capricious.'

April 2008: "The Federal Communications Commission 's (FCC) 700 MHz spectrum auction concluded on March 18 after nearly eight weeks of continuous bidding with $19.6 billion in bids. Verizon and AT&T were the big winners with Verizon winning most of the C-block. Last year, Google pushed the FCC to make the C-block open to all applications and devices. The commission granted that request, provided bidding on the spectrum reach a reserve price of $4.6 billion.",2817,2281382,00.asp

March 2008: "the transition to digital-only television -- the biggest change for the industry since color TV -- could leave some people in the dark....The Federal Communications Commission, which is leading education efforts about the transition, has been sponsoring workshops geared toward specific demographics. Of the more than 4,000 presentations the staff has given around the country, about 3,000 of them have been at senior centers, FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said."

March 2008: "Because satellite Internet, like TV, requires a clear view in the proper direction, a tree or hill can spoil your online life. Some subdivisions attempt to prohibit rooftop and balcony accessories, although Federal Communications Commission regulations preempt many such restrictions."

March 2008: "While key players are slugging it out over ISP content filtering, the Federal Communications Commission has released a slew of decisions and announcements about broadband. They include a new public hearing on broadband network management practices and new rules for telecommunications services in apartment buildings. And one of the commissioners attempted to ease concerns of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over the impact of net neutrality regulations."

March 2008: 'The [Supreme Court] will review the Federal Communications Commission's policy that even a one-time utterance of an obscene word on radio and television broadcasts during daytime and early evening hours is subject to punishment....The FCC says technology makes it easy for networks to avoid such gratuitous use of obscenity. The networks argue that the FCC has exceeded its authority when the word does not convey a sexual message...'

December 2007: "The Federal Communications Commission approved two new rules on Tuesday that are likely to reshape the nation’s media landscape by setting new parameters for the size and scope of the largest news and cable companies."

November 2007: The head of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday announced the details of his plan to relax the longstanding rule that had prevented a company from owning both a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same city.

November 2007: The Federal Communication Commission says people who use cellphone jammers could be fined up to $11,000 for a first offense. Its enforcement bureau has prosecuted a handful of American companies for distributing the gadgets — and it also pursues their users.

July 2007: The Federal Communications Commission is overseeing the auction of a portion of the radio frequency spectrum once used by television broadcasters, and this week drafted rules for the sale. The auction, scheduled for January, is expected to raise at least $15 billion, with bidders ranging from start-ups to established phone companies.

July 2007: Several members of a House subcommittee voiced agreement with a proposal that would require a portion of valuable airwaves about to be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission to be used for an 'open' network that would connect to any mobile device or service. Such a rule would benefit technology companies such as Google, Intel, Yahoo and Skype, who want more ways to reach their customers without going through carriers. The plan could hurt wireless carriers, who say unfettered access to their networks would undermine billions of dollars of investment for high-speed services.

June 2007: In a 2 to 1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York ruled that the FCC went too far in issuing a 2006 decision against Fox Broadcasting for separate incidents in 2002 and 2003 after singer Cher and celebrity Nicole Richie each uttered an expletive on live television.

June 2006: President Bush yesterday signed legislation that allows the Federal Communications Commission to slap a broadcaster with a fine of up to $325,000 per incident for airing programming the feds deem indecent.

March 2006: Which version of 'The Bedford Diaries' do you plan to watch -- or to miss? Thanks to the FCC and its quixotic censorship bender, two are available. One premieres tonight on the WB. The other is already streaming into homes via the Internet -- a 'webisode' that is safe, for now, from the government.

January 2005: The Federal Communications Commission, which had adopted the proposed rules in a hotly contested, 3 to 2, party-line vote in June 2003, now must decide whether to start anew on rules governing media consolidation or to re-argue its case before a lower court that the current proposals should be approved.

December 2004: The justices will hear an appeal of a lower-court ruling that threatened to force cable operators to share their Internet lines with competitors, much like local phone companies are required to do. The Federal Communications Commission had sought to exempt cable firms from the requirement, defining them not as telecommunications providers but as an information service.

December 2004: Executives at News Corp, which owns Fox, declined to comment, saying they wanted the filing to speak for itself. Executives at the other networks also declined to comment; both CBS and NBC have high-profile indecency appeals before the FCC. CBS is appealing a proposed $550,000 fine spurred by Janet Jackson's Super Bowl halftime show in February and NBC is appealing an indecency ruling caused by singer Bono's use of obscenity during a 2003 awards show.


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Possible/Unclear Fairness in Media Organization Nov 7, 2012
Research/Analysis Subject Inner City Press (ICP) Organization Feb 24, 2008
Opponent (past or present) NextWave Wireless Organization Mar 1, 2008
Cooperation (past or present) Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) Organization Jul 12, 2008
Owned by (partial or full, past or present) US Federal Government - Independent Agencies Organization May 4, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) Tom Allibone Person May 3, 2006
Organization Executive (past or present) Mignon Clyburn Person Dec 22, 2010
Advised by (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) Prof. David J. Farber Person Dec 4, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Prof. David "Dave" J. Farber Person
Organization Executive (past or present) Prof. Gerry Faulhaber Ph.D. Person Mar 23, 2008
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Julius Genachowski Esq. Person Aug 20, 2009
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Reed Hundt Person Nov 19, 2008
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) William "Bill" Kennard Person Nov 19, 2008
Organization Executive (past or present) Edward P. Lazarus Esq. Person Nov 21, 2009
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) Kevin J. Martin Esq. Person Dec 26, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) Robert M. McDowell Esq. Person Aug 7, 2006
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Newton Norman Minow Esq. Person May 1, 2010
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Michael K. Powell Person
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) David H. Solomon Person

Articles and Resources

178 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Beginning] [Previous 20] [Next 4]

Date Resource Read it at:
May 22, 2003 FCC Travel Routinely Funded by Industry: Watchdog Group Documents Regulators' Trips on the Regulated's Nickel

QUOTE: Over the past eight years, Federal Communications Commission officials have taken 2,500 business trips to global tourist spots, most of which were paid for by the media and telecommunications companies the agency oversees...

Washington Post
May 18, 2003 Sounds Familiar For a Reason

QUOTE: The combination of technological change and freedom from government regulation has not liberated owners to do more with less; rather, companies have lunged at the chance to do far less and rake in much more.

Washington Post
Apr 26, 2003 Does Talk Radio Incite Hate?

QUOTE: Commuters and others hear these drive-time slurs every morning and every night, but there remains a paucity of studies on how listeners are affected by the constant barrage of racism, homophobia, anti-immigrant, anti-almost everything not white and far right.

Southern Poverty Law Center
Apr 16, 2003 Keeping Numbers

QUOTE: Cell-phone companies asked a federal court yesterday to block a regulation that would force them to let consumers keep their phone numbers when switching wireless carriers.

Washington Times
Mar 30, 2003 The Angriest CEO in Telecom: SBC's chief can't stop fighting the government. Is that a good call?

QUOTE: Over the next six months the 61-year-old crisscrossed the country, waging what seemed like a one-man crusade to repeal federal rules that require SBC to resell its network at deep discounts.

Mar 07, 2003 The Media Can Legally Lie

QUOTE: ...a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.

Project Censored
Feb 23, 2003 FCC muffles artist's message

QUOTE: ...the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late last week let it be known that it should not have held the hip-hop artist's career hostage for nearly two years. It now has decided that her music is not indecent and not patently offensive

Feb 21, 2003 Few Cheers for New FCC Rules

QUOTE: A Federal Communications Commission decision to let states regulate competition among the regional Bell telephone companies drew sharp criticism on Thursday from lawmakers, some members of the telecom industry and consumer advocacy groups.

Feb 14, 2003 Network ownership of local stations at crossroads

QUOTE: ...the Federal Communications Commission...must figure out what to do with a rule that bars owning TV stations that collectively reach more than 35% of the 106.7 million U.S. television's a matter of fair play, possibly even survival.

Jan 27, 2003 NextWave court win frees up airwaves

QUOTE: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cut through a "Gordian legal knot" that has kept swaths of wireless spectrum in crowded metropolitan markets out of the hands of carriers.

Jan 27, 2003 Justices Say F.C.C. Wrongly Seized Wireless Licenses

QUOTE: The United States Supreme Court ruled, in a case of great importance for the telecommunications industry, that the federal government was wrong when it took back wireless communications licenses from a bankrupt company in 1998.

New York Times
Jan 23, 2003 Tech firms fight copy-protection laws

QUOTE: Technology groups are going on the offensive against Hollywood in a bitter dispute over a call for government-mandated copy protection.

Jan 20, 2003 Florida man sues 'American Idol': College professor, 50, alleges age discrimination

QUOTE: A 50-year-old college professor is suing producers of the TV show "American Idol" and the Fox Network, alleging age discrimination after he says he was denied the chance to audition to compete on the show.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Nov 29, 2002 In Media Res

QUOTE: [Al Gore said] "The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party."

New York Times
Oct 18, 2002 Digital Radio: Small Guys' Ruin?

QUOTE: The noise big radio conglomerates are making about digital radio is likely to drown out community radio stations -- dashing small broadcasters' hopes that the new technology would boost their signal.

Sep 01, 2002 Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

QUOTE: People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years –and thousands of dollars – cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for education, housing, cars, or even be arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Aug 01, 2002 Privacy Survival Guide: How to Take Control of Your Personal Information

QUOTE: Every day most of us give away information about ourselves ‑‑ sometimes knowingly and other times when we do not even realize it. You are your best privacy protector.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
May 27, 2002 'This is War'

QUOTE: Hollywood executives... accuse their Silicon Valley counterparts of ignoring Internet piracy because it helps them sell gadgets.

Apr 21, 2002 Oh, the Profanity! The TV Networks Are Fashioning Shows From Raw Material These Days. Very Raw Material. What the *&!%# Is Going On?

QUOTE: "In a world in which eighth- and ninth-grade schoolyards are filled with many more words than we'd allow on our air, at some point you have to ask who is protecting whom, and from what."

Washington Post
Apr 19, 2002 Federal Judge Rules That Ban on Fax Ads Is Unconstitutional

QUOTE: A little-noticed Federal District Court decision in Missouri, sure to be appealed, has held unconstitutional a 1991 law banning unsolicited commercial fax advertisements.

New York Times

178 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Beginning] [Previous 20] [Next 4]