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US Congress Forces FCC Reorganization
from Amateur Radio Newsline

The Canadian Goverment's regulator of telecommunications, (Industry Canada) does not appear to be the only one looking at massive reorganization and downsizing.

The following news article was received from Amateur Radio Newsline

The future of amateur radio could lie with a single man in Washington. He's not an FCC official, but he could have powerful influence over how the Commission operates in years to come.

In two years, the FCC could be an entirely different agency from what hams and others know it to be today. That's the vision U.S. Representative Billy Tauzen has, and as head of the powerful House Telecommunications Subcommittee, Tauzen could make it happen.

The Louisiana Republican lawmaker came to prominence earlier this year when his subcommittee proposed legislation essentially banning scanner radios. In an interview in the broadcast trade publication Radio World, Tauzen says it's time to do away with the old and bring in new ideas at the Commission. Tauzen indicates he'll give the FCC a choice. Either reorganize on its own, or his committee will look into doing it for the agency.

As Tauzen sees it, the Commission's main problem is that it's organized around a 1930 government model promoting heavy federal regulation and monopolies to protect consumers.

But Tauzen says this is a different age. One of government opening up the marketplace to fierce competition and letting consumers be in charge. But Tauzen feels that the FCC still thinks and reacts the old way.

Tauzen's comments seem to suggest that the Commission may be in for another round of downsizing... or perhaps even more deregulation. With Tauzen leading the push, Congress could even take the FCC out of the business of regulating the airwaves, perhaps making the agency function as a spectrum landlord instead.

What effect all this could have on the amateur radio service is unclear. This is a time, though, when other services pressure the Commission for more freedom. At the same time, radio amateurs ask the FCC to hold back the hands of time. Hams ask for more rules instead of fewer. They demand stricter enforcement. And they sometimes indicate that they prefer older as opposed to newer technology.

What will the next generation FCC say to all of this? Those answers will evolve only as the shape of the new FCC becomes clearer.

The first steps toward reshaping the FCC could take place soon. Tauzen says if the Commission does not take steps toward self-reorganization, his subcommittee may begin work on its own during the 1998 Congressional session.

(Via Radio World Magazine)

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© 1997
Amateur Radio Club Inc.

updated December 21, 1997

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