The Role of Field Operations in the Federal Communications Commission's Regulatory Structure

CED-78-151: Published: Aug 18, 1978. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1978.

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Growth and changes in telecommunications have placed demands on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop effective means for enforcing its regulations and responding to public inquiries. The FCC Field Operations Bureau has the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 and FCC rules and regulations and of serving as a liaison between FCC and the public. GAO conducted a review of the Field Operations Bureau's role in the FCC regulatory structure.

Greater integration of the activities of the Field Operations Bureau into the FCC regulatory structure can be achieved by: (1) improving the coordination between the Field Operations Bureau and other FCC bureaus; (2) developing improved methods for assessing the effectiveness of the Field Operations Bureau's enforcement functions; (3) reevaluating the monitoring goals established by FCC in 1973; (4) establishing a system of internal control to ensure that equipment obtained for field use is effectively utilized and that resources exist to place it in service; and (5) strengthening the Field Operations Bureau's role in obtaining, analyzing, and reporting information available to it from complaints and inquiries received and enforcement actions taken. In addition, FCC may want to consider obtaining additional congressional guidance concerning FCC enforcement actions against ships under title III of the Communications Act of 1934 and clarifying the responsibilities of regional directors, field supervisors, and headquarters personnel under the FCC program for regionalized field activities.

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