Q

What role do FCC regulations play in corporate communications?

Telecom expert Matt Brunk explains the role FCC regulations play in corporate communications, from Title 47 regulations to issues like net neutrality.

What role does the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) play in corporate communications today?

The FCC is responsible for regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

The FCC regulations that play a key role in telecommunications are outlined in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and Part 15 and Part 68 of the Title 47 regulations will give you an idea of what that role is.

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Part 15 regulates unlicensed transmissions from electronic devices. Nearly every electronic device radiates unintentional emissions and must be reviewed to comply with Part 15 in order to be advertised or sold in the U.S.

Part 68 deals with the connection of terminal equipment to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and to wireline carrier-owned facilities that provide private line services. Terminal equipment must meet certain criteria to be approved for use by the FCC. Part 68 also contains provisions to protect consumers and allow them to access competitive services.

A key concern is net neutrality – the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon support a model of two tiered services, also known as fast lanes, that would give priority to content providers who pay a fee for faster service.

The FCC has authority to regulate broadband and has proposed new rules that would require ISPs to disclose how they manage traffic and allow them to make "commercially reasonable" deals with content providers. Proponents of net neutrality argue that fast lane priority could stifle competition and its costs would be passed down to consumers.

In short, the FCC and FCC regulations play a key role, one that ranges from handling complaints, enforcement, and spectrum allocation and auctioning to highly debatable political policies, such as net neutrality, that impact both corporate and residential communications.

Next Steps

Learn how network engineers envision the Internet without net neutrality

Learn what the transition to digital phone services means for businesses

Learn why the concept of an Open Internet must be protected

This was first published in June 2014

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