Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Last Edited



Definition of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Network Encyclopedia.

What is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)?

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a government agency overseeing all aspects of telecommunications. Among other responsibilities, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses portions of the electromagnetic spectrum for communication technologies such as cellular phones and wireless networking.

Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission

For example, in 1994 the FCC auctioned off portions of the 1900-MHz radio wave section of the electromagnetic spectrum to enable companies to deploy Personal Communications Services (PCS) technologies for cellular communication.

FCC auctions are intended to increase the number of cellular phone providers in the United States, foster growth and competition in the telecommunications industry, and raise money for the U.S. government treasury.

One role of the FCC is to implement communication legislation passed by Congress. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 represents the first major overhaul of the laws regarding telecommunications in more than 60 years. The Federal Communications Commission is tasked with enforcing this legislation, which is designed to open up competition in the telecommunications arena to foster innovation and economic progress.

Federal Communications Commission ‘s Mission

The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations.

Bridging The Digital Divide For All Americans

High-speed Internet access, or broadband, is critical to economic opportunity, job creation, education, and civic engagement. But there are too many parts of this country where broadband is unavailable. Chairman Ajit Pai’s top priority is to close the digital divide between those who have access to cutting-edge communications services and those who do not. He believes that every American who wants to participate in the digital economy should be able to do so.

The Federal Communications Commission’s 5G FAST Plan

The United States is moving swiftly to lead the world in the next generation of wireless connectivity – or 5G. These new networks and technologies will enable faster speeds and low-latency wireless broadband services, cultivating the Internet of Things and innovations not yet imagined. Under Chairman Pai, the FCC is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology (the 5G FAST Plan). The Chairman’s strategy includes three key components:

  1. pushing more spectrum into the marketplace;
  2. updating infrastructure policy;
  3. modernizing outdated regulations.

Restoring Internet Freedom

The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which took effect on June 11, provides a framework for protecting an open Internet while paving the way for better, faster and cheaper Internet access for consumers. It replaces unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations that were developed way back in 1934 with strong consumer protections, increased transparency, and common-sense rules that will promote investment and broadband deployment.

Fighting Robocalls & Spoofing

The Federal Communications Commission is working to, as Chairman Pai says, “stop the scourge of illegal robocalls.” He has made combatting unlawful robocalls and malicious caller ID spoofing his top consumer protection priority. By proposing and implementing impactful policy initiatives and pursuing strong enforcement actions, the FCC has been taking a bold stand to protect and empower consumers.

Broadcast Incentive Auction

The incentive auction was the world’s first two-sided spectrum auction. In it, broadcasters bid in a reverse auction to voluntarily relinquish their spectrum usage rights in exchange for a portion of the proceeds from a forward auction of new, flexible-use licenses suitable for providing mobile broadband services. Bidding concluded in 2017, repurposing 84 MHz of low band spectrum for mobile use and raising $19.8 billion in gross revenues.

Accessible Communications for Everyone

Taking on the communications challenges faced by Americans with disabilities has been and will remain at the forefront of the FCC’s agenda. This includes the telecommunications needs of the millions of Americans who are Deaf, hard of hearing, speech-disabled and deaf-blind. The Federal Communications Commission’s latest effort is called Accessible Communications for Everyone (ACE), an initiative to break down telephone access barriers for these populations using innovative technologies of the 21st century.

On the web: