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Chairman Kennard's Oral Testimony | News Release ]
A New Federal Communications Commission for the 21st Century Report ]

Summary of Testimony of William E. Kennard,
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
Before The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and
Consumer Protection
On Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission

We are standing at the threshold of a new century, a century that promises to be as revolutionary in the technology that affects our daily lives and the future of our country as the inventions and innovations that so profoundly shaped the past 100 years. Just as the internal combustion engine, the telephone, and the railroad brought about our country's transformation from an agricultural to an industrial society, the microchip, fiber-optic cables, digital technology, and satellites are fueling our transition from an industrial to an information-age society. As the marketplace changes, so must the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The top-down regulatory model of the Industrial Age is as out of place in this new economy as the rotary telephone. As competition and convergence develop, the FCC must streamline its operations and continue to eliminate regulatory burdens. Technology is no longer a barrier, but old ways of thinking are.

As my testimony, I am submitting a Report entitled "A New Federal Communications Commission for the 21st Century." This report is part of a continuing process of self-assessment that the Commission has been engaging in to transform itself to meet the challenges of an information-age economy and an ever-changing communications industry.

The Report describes the communications marketplace -- past, present, and future -- and the implications of those changes for the FCC's structure and regulatory framework. My vision for a "New FCC" is a bold one -- in five years, the FCC should be dramatically changed. In a world of fully competitive communications markets, the FCC should focus only on those core functions that are not normally addressed by market forces. These core functions would revolve around: i) universal service, consumer protection and information; ii) enforcement and promotion of pro-competition goals domestically and worldwide; and iii) spectrum management.

The steps we are taking to transition to this model include: 1) Restructuring: We are consolidating currently dispersed enforcement functions into an Enforcement Bureau, and currently dispersed public information functions into a Public Information Bureau. The consolidation of these two key functions will improve efficiency and enhance the delivery of these services to the general public and to industry. 2) Streamlining and Automation: We are investing in new technology to create a "paperless FCC" by processing applications and licenses faster, cheaper, and in a more consumer friendly way through electronic filing and universal licensing. 3) Deregulation: We are completing 32 deregulation proceedings as a result of our 1998 Biennial Review of regulations, and intend for the 2000 Biennial Review to produce even more deregulatory actions. 4) Strategic Plan: We are preparing a five-year Strategic Plan that will outline our timetable for restructuring and streamlining FCC functions and management. As part of this process, we will work with Congress, state and local governments, industry, consumer groups, and others on a critical assessment of what the "New FCC" should look like and how we should get there.

FCC 1999 Proposed Restructuring and Streamlining Timetable*
March Submit Reauthorization Testimony/Initial Report to Congress
April/May Conduct Meetings with Congress and other Stakeholders on Strategic Plan
May Transmit Current Restructuring Plan to Commissioners (Enforcement Bureau and Public Information Bureau)
July Transmit Current Restructuring Plan to Congress and National Treasury Employees Union
Transmit Draft Strategic Plan to Congress, OMB, and Stakeholders Organize 2000 Biennial Review Team
September Transmit Final Strategic Plan to Congress, OMB, and Stakeholders
October Establish Enforcement Bureau and Public Information Bureau
November Begin Outreach on 2000 Biennial Review
FY 2000 Begin Implementing Five-Year Strategic Plan
*Note: Many of these dates are subject to change and may need Commission or Congressional approval.