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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
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TTY: 202/418-2555

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 12, 1999
Linda Paris at (202) 418-7121
Maureen Peratino at (202) 418-0506

Sees Need for New Structure in Era of Converging Technologies;
Calls for Faster, Flatter and More Functional Agency

William E. Kennard, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), today delivered to Congress a draft strategic plan for the future, entitled "A New FCC for the 21st Century."

"With this plan," Chairman Kennard noted, "the FCC is meeting the challenge of reinventing itself to keep pace with the rapidly changing communications industry landscape. We’ve developed a well-thought-out plan that reflects input from consumer groups, industry, state and local governments, the academic community, and FCC employees. It will allow the FCC to enter the next century able to respond fully and quickly to emerging technologies and the inexorable movement from regulation to competition. The Commission looks forward to a constructive dialogue with Congress and a continuing dialogue with all our stakeholders to ensure that this plan is inclusive, and addresses the needs of the American people."

The plan envisions that in five years U.S. communications markets will be characterized predominantly by vigorous competition that will greatly reduce the need for direct regulation. The FCC as we know it today will be very different both in structure and mission. As a result, the FCC must wisely manage the transition from an industry regulator to a market facilitator.

The plan notes that the advent of Internet-based and other new technology-driven communications services will erode the traditional regulatory distinctions between different sectors of the communications industry. The FCC’s primary goals, however, of promoting competition in communications, protecting consumers, and supporting access for every American to existing and advanced telecommunications services will continue unabated. What will change is the means and mix of resources necessary to achieve these goals in an environment marked by greater competition and convergence of technology and industry sectors.

In this new environment, the FCC must refocus its efforts from managing monopolies to addressing issues that will not be solved by the market. To do this, it must: (1) create a model agency for the Digital Age; (2) promote competition in all communications markets; (3) promote opportunities for all Americans to benefit from the communications revolution; and (4) manage the electromagnetic spectrum (the nation’s airwaves) in the public interest. Throughout the plan, the FCC focuses in particular on consumer protection and enforcement to ensure that consumers are empowered and treated fairly as they navigate the new world of communications.

For each of these goals, the plan establishes specific objectives and policy initiatives. (See attachment for more details.) To assess whether the FCC is on track in achieving these goals, there are specific performance measurements to be achieved within five years on key dimensions such as industry outcomes, consumer benefits, and Commission output. The plan also notes where statutory changes may be necessary to achieve the goals and includes a summary of those proposals.

The plan recognizes that it is necessary to restructure the way the FCC is organized to reflect changes in the regulatory landscape. In addition, the FCC must streamline its licensing activities, accelerate the decisionmaking process, and allow the public faster and easier access to information through increased automation and efficiency. The FCC must become a "one-stop, digital shop" where form-filing and document-location is easy and instantaneous.

This draft plan was developed in consultation with the senior management of the Commission. In addition, four forums were convened to get input from FCC stakeholders – industry, consumers, state and local governments, academia, and FCC employees. It will continue to be refined after further discussion with these stakeholders and with Congress.

The plan is available on the Internet at Paper copies are available from ITS, the FCC’s duplicating contractor, at (202) 857-3800.

- FCC -

Office of Plans and Policy contacts: Robert Pepper or Lisa Sockett at (202) 418-2030; Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs contact: Sheryl Wilkerson at (202) 418-1900.


Create a Model Agency for the Digital Age

Promote Competition in All Communications Markets

Promote Opportunities For All Americans to Benefit From the Communications Revolution

Manage the Electromagnetic Spectrum In the Public Interest