Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) new rule on the geographic partitioning and spectrum disaggregation for the 220-222 megahertz (MHz) service. GAO noted that: (1) the rule would amend the FCC's rules to allow the holders of licenses in the 220-222 MHz band to partition their licensed geographic area and disaggregate their licensed spectrum; and (2) the FCC complied with the applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.
Federal Communications Commission: Geographic Partitioning and, OGC-98-77, September 29, 1998
September 29, 1998
The Honorable John McCain Chairman The Honorable Ernest F. Hollings Ranking Minority Member Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate
The Honorable Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. Chairman The Honorable John D. Dingell Ranking Minority Member Committee on Commerce House of Representatives
Subject:Federal Communications Commission: Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation for the 220-222 MHz Service
Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), entitled "Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation for the 220-222 MHz Service" (PR Docket No. 89-552; GN Docket No. 93-252; FCC 98-186). We received the rule on September 11, 1998. It was published in the Federal Register as a final rule on September 15, 1998. 63 Fed. Reg. 49291.
The final rule amends the FCC's rules to allow the holders of licenses in the 220-222 MHz band to partition their licensed geographic area and disaggregate their licensed spectrum.
Enclosed is our assessment of the FCC's compliance with the procedural steps required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule. Our review indicates that the FCC complied with the applicable requirements
If you have any questions about this report, please contact James Vickers, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official responsible for GAO evaluation work relating to the Federal Communications Commission is Judy England-Joseph, Director for Housing and Community Development Issues. Ms. England-Joseph can be reached at (202) 512-7631.
Robert P. Murphy General Counsel
cc: Ms. Kathy Fagan AMD-Performance Evaluation and Records Management Federal Communications Commission ENCLOSURE
ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE ISSUED BY THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ENTITLED "GEOGRAPHIC PARTITIONING AND SPECTRUM DISAGGREGATION FOR THE 220-222 MHZ SERVICE" (PR Docket No. 89-552; GN Docket No. 93-252; FCC 98-186)
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
The FCC, in its report to our Office, states that it was not required to prepare and did not prepare a cost-benefit analysis of the final rule.
(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603-605, 607, and 609
The FCC prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in connection with the proposed rule and a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, which is published in the Federal Register in the preamble to the final rule.
The analyses comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, including the number and description of the small entities affected by the rule, the steps taken to minimize the burdens on small entities, and alternatives that were considered.
The FCC, in discussing the steps taken to minimize the burden on small entities, states that allowing non-restricted partitioning and disaggregation will facilitate market entry by parties who may lack the financial resources for participation in the auctions. This action should allow small entities to obtain licenses for smaller service areas and smaller amounts of spectrum at presumably reduced costs, thereby allowing more small entities to enter the marketplace.
(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1532-1535
As an independent regulatory agency, the FCC is not subject to title II of the Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995.
(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.
The final rule was promulgated using the notice and comment procedures contained in 5 U.S.C. 553. On April 3, 1997, the FCC published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register. 62 Fed. Reg. 16004. The FCC received comments and reply comments from six firms, and the comments are responded to in the preamble to the final rule.
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520
The final rule does not contain any new or modified information collections which are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Statutory authorization for the rule
The final rule was issued pursuant to the authority of Sections 4(i), 303(g), 303(r), and 332(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 303(g), 303(r), and 332(a).
Executive Order No. 12866
The rule, promulgated by an independent regulatory agency, is not subject to the review requirements of Executive Order No. 12866.