FCC Needs To Monitor a Changing International Telecommunications Market

RCED-83-92: Published: Mar 14, 1983. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can effectively monitor and gauge the impact of recent FCC and congressional actions designed to increase competition in the international telecommunications market by reducing the entry barriers for the U.S. portion of the market.

GAO found no general consensus that these actions would increase competition in the international market. Further, FCC does not monitor market development and cannot measure or gauge the competitive impact of its decisions on the market. The Common Carrier Bureau, responsible for implementing these decisions, recognizes the importance of monitoring the industry, but stated that its strained resources have made it difficult to track industry development. Therefore, GAO believes that, unless FCC develops an industry analysis capability, it cannot adequately measure market competitiveness to ensure that its actions are having the desired market behavior effects.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, FCC, should establish, within the Common Carrier Bureau, an industry analysis section to monitor industry structure. The Chairman should consider reassigning available positions within FCC to provide the necessary staff. The section should evaluate the cumulative effect that FCC decisions are having on market competitiveness so that appropriate regulatory programs and policies can be implemented if the market does not respond as intended.

    Agency Affected: Federal Communications Commission

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The international activity of the Common Carrier Bureau underwent its second major reorganization since this recommendation in early 1986. This, in addition to many developments in the international telecommunications marketplace, cast doubt on whether the recommendation is still valid. A new assignment would have to be conducted to determine if this or a similar recommendation is still advisable.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, FCC, should direct the Common Carrier Bureau to: (1) use this same capability to ensure that intermodal competition is developing; and (2) allow it to intervene in facilities authorization if necessary to correct any imbalance.

    Agency Affected: Federal Communications Commission


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