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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
September 25, 2008
(202) 289-8928
FCC Reforms Needed at Institutional Level
Esbin: FCC PROCCESS Act Reforms Good Start, Do Not Go Far Enough

WASHINGTON D.C. - The "FCC Procedural Reform for Openness and Clarity Encouraging Sensible Solutions Act" (FCC PROCESS Act) is a commendable effort to improve decision making at the Commission, states PFF Senior Fellow Barbara Esbin in "FCC Reform: Scalpel or Steamroller" released today by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. However, recent challenges to the Commission's decisions, Esbin explains, suggest reform is needed at the "institutional level."

In the paper, Esbin, Director of PFF's Center for Communications and Competition Policy, analyses the FCC PROCESS Act and concludes the proposed reforms would do much in improving both transparency and timeliness in the Commission. The author also suggests two additional reforms Congress should consider, including "imposing deadlines on the FCC's ability to hold requests for agency action that require public notice and comment" and addressing the "agency's approach to its adjudicatory processes."

Esbin also suggests a new approach to communications regulation should be considered in order to update and clarify the agency's authority and jurisdiction. At present, the Commission's regulatory authority is structured under separate titles defined by technology, leaving IP-based services subject to vaguely defined ancillary jurisdiction. Esbin urges reformers to consider a new regulatory approach to better fit the modern communications market. "Our domestic regulatory policy debate is continually hobbled by the need to conduct it in the 'terms of the past' rather than in accordance with the reality of the networks and services of today, let alone the needs of tomorrow's network, service and applications developers and providers," Esbin concludes.

"FCC Reform: Scalpel or Steamroller" is available on the PFF website.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation