Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) new rule on the development of technical and spectrum requirements for meeting federal, state, and local public safety agency communication requirements through the year 2010. GAO noted that: (1) the rule would establish a band plan and adopt service rules to begin the process of assigning licenses for public safety stations to operate in the newly reallocated spectrum of 746-776 and 794-806 megahertz (MHz); (2) the rule would also designate a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum to permit different agencies to communicate with each other and would adopt technical specifications necessary to enhance spectrum efficiency, promote nationwide interoperability, and minimize harmful interference; and (3) FCC complied with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.
Federal Communications Commission: The Development of, OGC-99-14, November 16, 1998
November 16, 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: The Development of Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Agency Communication Requirements Through the Year 2010, Establishment of Rules and Requirements for Priority Access 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 "The Development of Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Agency Communication Requirements Through the Year 2010, Establishment of Rules and Requirements for Priority Access Service" (WT Docket No. 96-86; FCC 98-191). We received the rule on October 26, 1998. It was published in the Federal Register as a final rule on November 2, 1998. 63 Fed. Reg. 58645.
The FCC's final rule establishes a band plan and adopts service rules to begin the process of assigning licenses for public safety stations to operate in the newly reallocated spectrum of 746-776 and 794-806 MHz. The rule also designates a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum to permit different governmental agencies to communicate with each other (interoperability) and adopts technical specifications necessary to enhance spectrum efficiency, promote nationwide interoperability, and minimize harmful interference. 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 Alan Zuckerman, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-4586. 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 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 "THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNICAL AND SPECTRUM REQUIREMENTS FOR MEETING FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENTS THROUGH THE YEAR 2010, ESTABLISHMENT OF RULES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIORITY ACCESS SERVICE" (WT Docket No. 96-86; FCC 98-191)
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
The FCC's submission to us stated that it was not required to prepare and did not prepare a cost-benefit analysis of the rule.
(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603-605, 607, and 609
The initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was incorporated in the notice of proposed rulemaking, 61 Fed. Reg. 25185, May 20, 1996. The FCC sought comments on the proposed rulemaking, including comments on the initial regulatory flexibility analysis.
The IRFA provides the information required by paragraphs 603(b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), and (b)(4). It describes the reasons for the proposed agency action; its objectives; the legal basis; and the reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of the proposed rule. In addition, in accordance with 603(b)(5), the FCC notes that there are no federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed rule.
The rule incorporates the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA) consistent with the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 604. The analysis notes that the small entities affected include approximately 81,600 small governmental entities, six radio and television equipment manufacturers, as well as television stations, TV translator stations, and low-power TV stations. The FCC satisfies the requirements of section 604(a). It describes the need for and objective of the final rule. It notes that no significant issues were raised by public comments in response to the IRFA. The Commission notes the steps it has taken to minimize the economic impact on small entities.
(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 Reform 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 FCC promulgated this rule under the notice and comment procedures of 5 U.S.C. 553. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published on May 20, 1996, 61 Fed. Reg. 25185. The FCC received comments in response to the notice, and in its report indicates that it gave full consideration to the comments filed by the interested parties.
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520
The FCC requests comments on the proposed and continuing information collection requirements for the rule, noting that it may not conduct a collection of information for those information collection requirements without a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number\1 which has not yet been obtained.
Statutory authorization for the rule
The authority for this rule is stated to be 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 302, 303(f) and (r), 332, and 337.
Executive Order No. 12866
As the rule is promulgated by an independent regulatory agency, it is not subject to the review requirements of E.O. 12866.