Can the Federal Communications Commission Successfully Implement Its Computer II Decision?

CED-82-38: Published: Jan 29, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 1982.

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GAO was requested to review the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) plan for implementing its Computer Inquiry II decision. This decision deals with the regulatory problems raised by the convergence of communications and data processing technologies. The objectives of the review were to: (1) determine the major tasks which must be accomplished to implement Computer II and the timeframe for completing them; and (2) examine the organization which FCC has established and the resources which it has assigned to carry out these tasks.

GAO found that FCC has made implementing Computer II its Common Carrier Bureau's highest priority. In October 1981, FCC also created a taskforce with specific responsibility for implementation activities. However, before that time, little had been done to plan for or to deal with Computer II implementation. While the scope of a number of the tasks which FCC will have to undertake as part of Computer II implementation will depend in part on future actions by common carriers, the issues facing FCC are likely to be complex and difficult to resolve. Thus, given the fact that most of the tasks must be completed prior to, and in some cases well before, the deadline which FCC has established for carrier compliance with Computer II, questions exist concerning: (1) the adequacy of the resources assigned to implementing Computer II; (2) the ability of FCC to deal with problems relating to asset transfers, cost sharing, and intracorporate transactions existing under Computer II; and (3) the capability of FCC to effectively police the boundaries between regulated and unregulated services.

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