CompTel Proposes New FCC Bureau
By Kim Sunderland
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reform should include creation of a new
Competition Bureau that would streamline agency processes and be more apt at dealing with
industry changes and technological convergence, the Washington-based Competitive
Telecommunications Association (CompTel) says.
CompTel’s June 28 comments are in response to a May 19 letter from Rep. Paul E.
Gillmor, R-Ohio, a member of the House Commerce Committee, who requested CompTel’s input.
Several Republican members of Congress are interested in revamping, if not altogether
eliminating, the FCC, and have held hearings on this issue on Capitol Hill. FCC Chairman
William E. Kennard also is holding commission hearings on his strategic plans to
reorganize the federal agency.
H. Russell Frisby Jr., president of CompTel, wrote in the association’s letter to Rep.
Gillmor that the FCC should consolidate its numerous overlapping bureaus into fewer
bureaus with broader responsibility. For example, the Common Carrier, Cable Television,
Mass Media, and Wireless bureaus could be combined into one Competition Bureau.
CompTel proposes the bureau have two divisions. One division could handle
monopoly-dominated industries or market power-related issues, such as those arising under
Sections 251 or 271 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, including mergers. The second
division could deal with issues that cut across industry segments, such as numbering
administration or reciprocal compensation.
The other FCC bureaus should include enforcement, licensing, international, public
information and an office of general counsel.