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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

Released: May 6, 1999


Chairman Kennard today announced that he will convene three public forums to discuss the future of the Federal Communications Commission in the 21st Century. The purpose of the forums is to assist the Chairman in preparing a five-year strategic plan that would outline a timetable for restructuring and streamlining FCC functions and management.

The Public Forums have been scheduled for the following days:

Thursday, May 20, 2 - 5 p.m. General Industry
Wednesday, June 2, 10 - 1 p.m. Consumer, State & Local Government
Friday, June 11, 10 - 1 p.m. Academic and Organizational Experts

Each of the forums will be held in the Commission Meeting Room at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. All three forums will be open to the public, and seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Kathryn Brown, the FCC's Chief of Staff, will moderate the discussion at each forum. The forums will be closed captioned.

On March 17, 1999, Chairman Kennard and the other Commissioners testified before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection on the Reauthorization of the FCC, including suggestions for structural and organizational changes to the FCC. As part of his testimony, the Chairman submitted a report entitled "A New Federal Communications Commission for the 21st Century." In the report, the Chairman stated that 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 report outlines the restructuring, streamlining, and deregulation steps the Commission is already taking to transition to this model. The Chairman also announced that the FCC is preparing a five-year strategic plan that will serve as the Commission's blueprint as it enters the 21st Century. A major aspect of the five-year strategic plan is the receipt of input from the FCC's stakeholders, including Congress, state and local governments, industry, consumer groups, and others.

In order to solicit this input, each of the public forums will be divided into three sessions lasting approximately one hour each:

Session I

What Should the FCC's Role Be in the 21st Century?

  • What is your vision of the communications marketplace of the future?

  • In the communications marketplace of the future, what activities would the FCC no longer do? What functions would remain?

  • In his March 17th report, the Chairman stated his vision of the FCC's future core functions as revolving around: i) enforcement and promotion of pro-competition goals domestically and worldwide; ii) universal service, consumer protection, and information; and iii) spectrum management. What are your views on this vision?

  • How would you prioritize the FCC's current workload in order to transition to a New FCC for the 21st Century?

Session II

How Should the FCC Be Structured in the Communications Marketplace of the Future?

  • In view of what will be a changing role for the FCC in the future, what structural changes, if any, should be made to reorganize the FCC beyond the previously announced intent to create an Enforcement Bureau and a Public Information Bureau?

  • What structural recommendations do you have regarding the FCC's license application functions? Its policy and rulemaking functions?

  • What steps should the FCC take to strengthen its technical resources and its commitment to promoting competition and access to communications services world-wide?

  • In view of what the FCC's core functions will be in the future, what recommendations do you have regarding FCC resources and staffing needs, including the need to attract and retain high-quality employees?

Session III

How Can the FCC Work More Efficiently and Effectively to Deliver Services to the Public?

  • What are your top three recommendations for ways the FCC can work more efficiently and effectively and be more user-friendly?

  • What specific and/or general recommendations do you have in the areas of streamlining and deregulation?

  • What recommendations do you have to improve the Commission's priority-setting process? Its decision-making processes?

An e-mail site has been established to receive additional input from the public on the above questions. The e-mail address is: newfcc@fcc.gov. In addition, time permitting, views and/or questions received during the course of the public forums via this e-mail site will be addressed at the public forums along with the views of the attendees.

The forums will be carried live on the Internet, barring any technical difficulties. Internet users may listen to the real-time audio feed of the forums via the FCC Internet Audio Broadcast Home Page. Step-by-step instructions on how to listen to the audio broadcast, as well as information regarding the equipment and software needed, are available on the FCC Internet Audio Broadcast Home Page. The URL address for this home page is http://www.fcc.gov/realaudio/.

A transcript of each of the forums will be available 10 business days after each event on the FCC's Internet site. The URL address for the FCC's Internet Home Page is http://www.fcc.gov. Transcripts may also be obtained from the FCC's duplicating contractor, International Transcription Service, 1231 20th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, by calling ITS at (202) 857-3800, TTY (202) 293-8810, or faxing ITS at (202) 857-3805. Audio and video tapes of the forums may be purchased from Infocus, 341 Victory Drive, Herndon, VA 20170, by calling Infocus at (703) 834-0100 or by faxing Infocus at (703) 834-0111. Copies of the transcripts in other alternative formats (computer diskette, large print, and Braille) are available to persons with disabilities by contacting Martha Contee at (202) 418-0260 voice, (202) 418-2555 TTY, or at mcontee@fcc.gov.

Persons or organizations interested in participating in the forums should contact the following persons: May 20th Industry Forum -- Stephen Klitzman, (202) 418-1913, TTY (202) 418-2555; June 2nd Consumer, State and Local Government Forum -- Ellen Blackler, (202) 418-0491, TTY (202) 418-0485; June 11th Academic and Organizational Experts Forum -- Lisa Sockett, (202) 418-2668, TTY (202) 418-1169. News media contact: Maureen Peratino at (202) 418-0500, TTY (202) 418-2555.

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